We have constructed a wave-front sensor to measure the irregular as well as the classical aberrations of the eye, providing a more complete description of the eye's aberrations than has previously been possible. We show that the wave-front sensor provides repeatable and accurate measurements of the eye's wave aberration. The modulation transfer function of the eye computed from the wave-front sensor is in fair, though not complete, agreement with that obtained under similar conditions on the same observers by use of the double-pass and the interferometric techniques. Irregular aberrations, i.e., those beyond defocus, astigmatism, coma, and spherical aberration, do not have a large effect on retinal image quality in normal eyes when the pupil is small (3 mm). However, they play a substantial role when the pupil is large (7.3-mm), reducing visual performance and the resolution of images of the living retina. Although the pattern of aberrations varies from subject to subject, aberrations, including irregular ones, are correlated in left and right eyes of the same subject, indicating that they are not random defects.
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