20120301

Physics quiz question: myopia contact lens prescription

Physics 205B Quiz 2, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Problem 24.25

A Physics 205B student with myopia has an uncorrected far point of 5.0 m. The refractive power of the contact lens used to correct this student's vision is:
(A) –∞.
(B) –5.0 D.
(C) –0.40 D.
(D) –0.20 D.

Correct answer (highlight to unhide): (D)

The Physics 205B student is nearsighted, and do = 5.0 m is the farthest object distance that this student's unaided eye can see. The thin lens equation for this student's unaided eye is then:

(1/do) + (1/di) = (1/f1),

where f1 is the focal length of the student's (relaxed) cornea/lens, and di is the distance from the student's cornea/lens to the retina at the back of the eye, where the (inverted) real image is projected.

This student would like to see things at an object distance of do' = ∞ when wearing contact lenses, where the "'" indicates this is the corrected farthest object distance. The thin lens equation for this student's eye with contacts is then:

(1/do') + (1/di) = (1/f1) + (1/f2),

where f1 is the focal length of the student's (relaxed) cornea/lens, f2 is the focal length of the contact lens, and di is the distance from the student's cornea/lens to the retina at the back of the eye, where the (inverted) real image is projected.

Since the student's cornea/lens to retina distance is constant, di is the same for both equations; similarly the students student's (relaxed) cornea/lens focal length f1 is also constant. We can eliminate these two quantities from both equations by subtracting the first equation from the second:

    [(1/do') + (1/di) = (1/f1) + (1/f2)]
– [(1/do) + (1/di) = (1/f1)]
                                                                   

    (1/do') – (1/do) = (1/f2),

such that the refractive power of the contact lens is then:

P2 = (1/f2),

P2 = (1/do') – (1/do),

P2 = (1/(∞)) – (1/(5.0 m)) = –0.20 m–1 = –0.20 D,

where the units of diopters (D) is equal to inverse meters (m–1).

(Response (C) is the inverse of the nominal near point, or 1/(+0.25 m).)

Section 30882
Exam code: quiz02gL4s
(A) : 2 students
(B) : 2 students
(C) : 5 students
(D) : 15 students

Success level: 63%
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.73

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