The minimum number of samples necessary to fully characterize the aberration pattern of the eye is a question under debate in the clinical as well as the scientific community. We performed repeated measurements of ocular aberrations in 12 healthy nonsurgical human eyes and in 3 artificial eyes, using different sampling patterns (hexagonal, circular, and rectangular with 19 to 177 samples, and 3 radial patterns with 49 sample coordinates corresponding to zeros of the Albrecht, Jacobi, and Legendre functions). For each measurement set we computed two different metrics based on the root-mean-square (RMS) of difference maps (RMS_Diff) and the proportional change in the wavefront . These metrics are used to compare wavefront estimates as well as to summarize results across eyes. We used computer simulations to extend our results to “abnormal eyes” (keratoconic, post-LASIK, and post–radial keratotomy eyes). We found that the spatial distribution of the samples can be more important than the number of samples for both our measured as well as our simulated “abnormal” eyes. Experimentally, we did not find large differences across patterns except, as expected, for undersampled patterns.
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