Potential applications of aberration corrections in laser refractive surgery and contact lens design require knowledge of the statistical distributions of aberrations among normal populations. In this study, we based our statistical analysis upon a sample of 200 healthy young eyes (100 subjects). We find that the magnitude of aberrations in a given Zeraike order decreases exponentially as the order increases. The frequency distribution of the magnitudes of normalized wavefront variances was similar in shape for all Zernike orders in the range 2-7. The Zernike polynomials used widely in characterizing the aberration are not necessarily the best description of inherent aberrations for the human eyes. Principle component analysis was used to develop a more compact description of the aberration structure of eyes based on an alternative set of orthonormal basis functions. However, little improvement was gained over the traditional Zernike description.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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