This paper reviews the facts that led to the application of the Fourier analysis to optical system, and later to the human eye, originating the formulation of the modulation transfer function or MTF. Since the, MTF has been applied to the study of system of reproduction and formation of spatial and temporal images, as well as to the analysis of both normal and pathological vision under different experimental conditions. The first models put forward to reproduce this function, considered the optical and neural component, the latter analyzed as lateral inhibition. Also, the effect of photon noise on the contrast sensitivity of the eye and the level of adaption whether photopic or scotopic. Other factors are currently considered when simulating and understanding what happens in those cases in which MTF is attenuated by cortical pathologies. These are, for example, cases of opponence between ON-OFF signals, independence of channels of frequency, and diffusion and permeability factors, which together generate a non-linear pattern of behavior similar to what occurs in human vision. Finally, a neural network model capable of reproducing retinal and cortical pathologies is presented.