In a recent paper [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 113 (1999)] a thin-element approximation of diffractive optical elements was used to describe diffraction of oblique incident wave fronts. This expression motivated by a ray optical analysis is shown to be incorrect. I discuss how the thin-element approximation can be generalized to arbitrary diffraction geometries. This includes an intuitive interpretation of the results.
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