Updated · Feb 08, 2023
Our eyes aren’t perfect.
Especially when compared to the vision of some animals, ours is just too underdeveloped to compete.
But what about digital imaging? At least that’s a picture we can see and directly compare to.
We’ve all heard of megapixels and resolutions, but will we ever reach image quality comparable to our eyesight?
What resolution is the human eye?
The answer is much more complicated than you might think.
First, we need to understand what resolution is.
What Is Resolution?
In simple terms, resolution is the level of detail an image can show. Regarding digital screens, it’s the number of individual pixels a display holds.
Right off the bat, you can probably spot the first problem.
The human eye doesn’t have pixels as it processes images in a completely different way.
However, the resolution of a digital image is also dependent on other factors, not just pixel density.
One instance is image sharpness. A blurry image may have the same number of pixels as an HD photo but still have a lower resolution.
But that’s not all.
Light illumination, the size of the camera sensors, and how far away they are from the object all play a role. So quantifying image resolution is tricky since it’s not just a simple number that you can measure.
What Resolution Is the Human Eye?
That being said, determining the human eye resolution is even trickier.
However, we can maybe get around this by asking a different question:
How many pixels would a display need to fill up a human’s field of vision without any visible pixelation?
That’s right, a screen with this many pixels would be large enough to fill your entire cone of vision. In case you’re curious, if converted to a typical widescreen display, that would amount to a 32000x18000 resolution.
Case closed then, right?
No, not exactly.
Because, you see, human vision doesn’t work the same way as a camera. Our eyes don’t take one instant perfect image of our surroundings. In fact, the vast majority of what we can see is blurry and colorless.
But how is this possible?
The human eye, unlike a camera, has central and peripheral vision. The central two degrees of our field of view fall within what is called the fovea. Clear 20/20 eyesight only occurs in that tiny cone. Everything beyond that is peripheral vision, which is a lot blurrier.
Okay, but why don’t we see any of that?
Because as the eye moves, our brain takes in all the foveal information gathered and filters out the blurriness.
That being said, remember those 576 megapixels from earlier? The number only applies if we assume our entire field of view is as clear as our foveal vision.
Which it isn’t.
In reality, only about seven megapixels would be enough to fill up the two degrees of central foveal vision. Anything beyond that wouldn’t really matter, as it would appear blurry.
Furthermore, each eye has a blind spot where the optic nerve connects the retina to our brain. We’re literally unable to see anything in that space. The reason we don’t notice it is because, once again, the brain filters it out.
As you can see, measuring the human eye resolution is complicated.
For one, because our sight is so unlike traditional cameras. Our brain processes the information gathered by the eyeball to create a much clearer image than we can actually see.
Additionally, the eye doesn’t see in megapixels.
But what if we were to build a screen large enough to fill our entire field of view? Then that screen would require 576 million pixels and a resolution of 32000x18000.
Of course, this comes with limitations.
These numbers don’t take into account our blind spots or peripheral vision.
So what resolution is the human eye after all?
If we were to ignore those conditions, then the 576-megapixel number is the closest thing to a definitive answer.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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Updated · Feb 07, 2023
Updated · Feb 07, 2023