AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 48. Adaptive Optics for the Human Eye
Invited, Thursday, June 8, 2000, 8:30-9:20am, Lilac Ballroom

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[48.01] Adaptive Optics for the Human Eye

D. R. Williams (Center for Visual Science, U. Rochester)

Adaptive optics can extend not only the resolution of ground-based telescopes, but also the human eye. Both static and dynamic aberrations in the cornea and lens of the normal eye limit its optical quality. Though it is possible to correct defocus and astigmatism with spectacle lenses, higher order aberrations remain. These aberrations blur vision and prevent us from seeing at the fundamental limits set by the retina and brain. They also limit the resolution of cameras to image the living retina, cameras that are a critical for the diagnosis and treatment of retinal disease. I will describe an adaptive optics system that measures the wave aberration of the eye in real time and compensates for it with a deformable mirror, endowing the human eye with unprecedented optical quality. This instrument provides fresh insight into the ultimate limits on human visual acuity, reveals for the first time images of the retinal cone mosaic responsible for color vision, and points the way to contact lenses and laser surgical methods that could enhance vision beyond what is currently possible today.

Supported by the NSF Science and Technology Center for Adaptive Optics, the National Eye Institute, and Bausch and Lomb, Inc.

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