Wavefront aberrations and the depth of focus of the human eye

Yi, Fan (2010) Wavefront aberrations and the depth of focus of the human eye. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

The depth of focus (DOF) can be defined as the variation in image distance of a lens or an optical system which can be tolerated without incurring an objectionable lack of sharpness of focus. The DOF of the human eye serves a mechanism of blur tolerance. As long as the target image remains within the depth of focus in the image space, the eye will still perceive the image as being clear. A large DOF is especially important for presbyopic patients with partial or complete loss of accommodation (presbyopia), since this helps them to obtain an acceptable retinal image when viewing a target moving through a range of near to intermediate distances. The aim of this research was to investigate the DOF of the human eye and its association with the natural wavefront aberrations, and how higher order aberrations (HOAs) can be used to expand the DOF, in particular by inducing spherical aberrations ( 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z ). The depth of focus of the human eye can be measured using a variety of subjective and objective methods. Subjective measurements based on a Badal optical system have been widely adopted, through which the retinal image size can be kept constant. In such measurements, the subject.s tested eye is normally cyclopleged. Objective methods without the need of cycloplegia are also used, where the eye.s accommodative response is continuously monitored. Generally, the DOF measured by subjective methods are slightly larger than those measured objectively. In recent years, methods have also been developed to estimate DOF from retinal image quality metrics (IQMs) derived from the ocular wavefront aberrations. In such methods, the DOF is defined as the range of defocus error that degrades the retinal image quality calculated from the IQMs to a certain level of the possible maximum value. In this study, the effect of different amounts of HOAs on the DOF was theoretically evaluated by modelling and comparing the DOF of subjects from four different clinical groups, including young emmetropes (20 subjects), young myopes (19 subjects), presbyopes (32 subjects) and keratoconics (35 subjects). A novel IQM-based through-focus algorithm was developed to theoretically predict the DOF of subjects with their natural HOAs. Additional primary spherical aberration ( 0 4 Z ) was also induced in the wavefronts of myopes and presbyopes to simulate the effect of myopic refractive correction (e.g. LASIK) and presbyopic correction (e.g. progressive power IOL) on the subject.s DOF. Larger amounts of HOAs were found to lead to greater values of predicted DOF. The introduction of primary spherical aberration was found to provide moderate increase of DOF while slightly deteriorating the image quality at the same time. The predicted DOF was also affected by the IQMs and the threshold level adopted. We then investigated the influence of the chosen threshold level of the IQMs on the predicted DOF, and how it relates to the subjectively measured DOF. The subjective DOF was measured in a group of 17 normal subjects, and we used through-focus visual Strehl ratio based on optical transfer function (VSOTF) derived from their wavefront aberrations as the IQM to estimate the DOF. The results allowed comparison of the subjective DOF with the estimated DOF and determination of a threshold level for DOF estimation. Significant correlation was found between the subject.s estimated threshold level for the estimated DOF and HOA RMS (Pearson.s r=0.88, p<0.001). The linear correlation can be used to estimate the threshold level for each individual subject, subsequently leading to a method for estimating individual.s DOF from a single measurement of their wavefront aberrations. A subsequent study was conducted to investigate the DOF of keratoconic subjects. Significant increases of the level of HOAs, including spherical aberration, coma and trefoil, can be observed in keratoconic eyes. This population of subjects provides an opportunity to study the influence of these HOAs on DOF. It was also expected that the asymmetric aberrations (coma and trefoil) in the keratoconic eye could interact with defocus to cause regional blur of the target. A dual-Badal-channel optical system with a star-pattern target was used to measure the subjective DOF in 10 keratoconic eyes and compared to those from a group of 10 normal subjects. The DOF measured in keratoconic eyes was significantly larger than that in normal eyes. However there was not a strong correlation between the large amount of HOA RMS and DOF in keratoconic eyes. Among all HOA terms, spherical aberration was found to be the only HOA that helped to significantly increase the DOF in the studied keratoconic subjects. Through the first three studies, a comprehensive understanding of DOF and its association to the HOAs in the human eye had been achieved. An adaptive optics system was then designed and constructed. The system was capable of measuring and altering the wavefront aberrations in the subject.s eye and measuring the resulting DOF under the influence of different combination of HOAs. Using the AO system, we investigated the concept of extending the DOF through optimized combinations of 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z . Systematic introduction of a targeted amount of both 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z was found to significantly improve the DOF of healthy subjects. The use of wavefront combinations of 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z with opposite signs can further expand the DOF, rather than using 0 4 Z or 0 6 Z alone. The optimal wavefront combinations to expand the DOF were estimated using the ratio of increase in DOF and loss of retinal image quality defined by VSOTF. In the experiment, the optimal combinations of 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z were found to provide a better balance of DOF expansion and relatively smaller decreases in VA. Therefore, the optimal combinations of 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z provides a more efficient method to expand the DOF rather than 0 4 Z or 0 6 Z alone. This PhD research has shown that there is a positive correlation between the DOF and the eye.s wavefront aberrations. More aberrated eyes generally have a larger DOF. The association of DOF and the natural HOAs in normal subjects can be quantified, which allows the estimation of DOF directly from the ocular wavefront aberration. Among the Zernike HOA terms, spherical aberrations ( 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z ) were found to improve the DOF. Certain combinations of 0 4 Z and 0 6 Z provide a more effective method to expand DOF than using 0 4 Z or 0 6 Z alone, and this could be useful in the optimal design of presbyopic optical corrections such as multifocal contact lenses, intraocular lenses and laser corneal surgeries.

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ID Code: 40939
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Collins, Michael & Shaw, Alyra
Keywords: adaptive optics, depth of focus, eye, higher order aberrations, retinal image quality metrics, spherical aberration, vision, wavefront aberrations
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Mar 2011 06:00
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:01

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