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Aberrations of the Human Eye in Visible and Near Infrared Illumination


Optometry and Vision Science: January 2003 - Volume 80 - Issue 1 - p 26-35

Purpose. In most current aberrometers, near infrared light is used to measure ocular aberrations, whereas in some applications, optical aberration data in the visible range are required. We compared optical aberration measurements using infrared (787 nm) and visible light (543 nm) in a heterogeneous group of subjects to assess whether aberrations are similar in both wavelengths and to estimate experimentally the ocular chromatic focus shift.

Methods. Ocular aberrations were measured in near infrared and visible light using two different laboratory-developed systems: laser ray tracing (LRT) and Shack-Hartmann. Measurements were conducted on 36 eyes (25 and 11 eyes, respectively), within a wide range of ages (20 to 71 years), refractive errors (−6.00 to +16.50), and optical quality (root mean square wavefront error, excluding defocus, from 0.40 to 9.89 μm). In both systems, wave aberrations were computed from the ray aberrations by modal fitting to a Zernike polynomial base (up to seventh order in laser ray tracing and sixth order in Shack-Hartmann). We compared the Zernike coefficients and the root mean square wavefront error corresponding to different terms between infrared and green illumination.

Results. A Student’s t-test performed on the Zernike coefficients indicates that defocus was significantly different in all of the subjects but one. Average focus shift found between 787 nm and 543 nm was 0.72 D. A very small percentage of the remaining coefficients was found to be significantly different: 4.7% of the 825 coefficients (25 eyes with 33 terms) for laser ray tracing and 18.2% of the 275 coefficients (11 eyes with 25 terms) for Shack-Hartmann. Astigmatism was statistically different in 8.3% of the eyes, root mean square wavefront error for third-order aberrations in 16.6%, and spherical aberration (Z4 0) in 11.1%.

Conclusions. Aerial images captured using infrared and green light showed noticeable differences. Apart from defocus, this did not affect centroid computations because within the variability of the techniques, estimates of aberrations with infrared were equivalent to those measured with green. In normal eyes, the Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration of the Indiana Chromatic Eye Model can predict the defocus term changes measured experimentally, although the intersubject variability could not be neglected. The largest deviations from the prediction were found on an aphakic eye and on the oldest subject.

Instituto de Óptica “Daza de Valdés”, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Serrano, Madrid, Spain (LL, SM), Applied Vision Research Centre, Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University, Northhampton Square, London, United Kingdom (LDS), Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London, United Kingdom (DLS)

Received April 30, 2002;

revision received July 26, 2002.

Lourdes Llorente

Instituto de Óptica “Daza de Valdés”

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Serrano, 121, Madrid, 28006



© 2003 American Academy of Optometry