In wavefront-driven vision correction, ocular aberrations are often measured on the pupil plane and the correction is applied on a different plane. The problem with this practice is that any changes undergone by the wavefront as it propagates between planes are not currently included in devising customized vision correction. With some valid approximations, we have developed an analytical foundation based on geometric optics in which Zernike polynomials are used to characterize the propagation of the wavefront from one plane to another. Both the boundary and the magnitude of the wavefront change after the propagation. Taylor monomials were used to realize the propagation because of their simple form for this purpose. The method we developed to identify changes in low-order aberrations was verified with the classical vertex correction formula. The method we developed to identify changes in high-order aberrations was verified with ZEMAX ray-tracing software. Although the method may not be valid for highly irregular wavefronts and it was only proven for wavefronts with low-order or high-order aberrations, our analysis showed that changes in the propagating wavefront are significant and should, therefore, be included in calculating vision correction. This new approach could be of major significance in calculating wavefront-driven vision correction whether by refractive surgery, contact lenses, intraocular lenses, or spectacles.
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