Abstract

Off-axis detection methods in adaptive optics (AO) ophthalmoscopy can enhance image contrast of translucent retinal structures such as cone inner segments and retinal ganglion cells. Here, we propose a 2D optical model showing that the phase contrast produced by these methods depends on the offset orientation. While one axis provides an asymmetric light distribution, hence high phase contrast, the perpendicular axis provides a symmetric one, thus substantially lower contrast. We support this model with in vivo human data acquired with a multi-offset AO scanning light ophthalmoscope. Then, using this finding, we provide a post-processing method, named spatial-frequency-based image reconstruction, to optimally combine images from different off-axis detector orientations, significantly increasing the structural cellular contrast of in vivo human retinal neurons such as cone inner segment, putative rods, and retinal ganglion cells.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Supplementary Material (4)

NameDescription
» Visualization 1       Change of contrast and PSD anisotropy for all eight offset orientations when imaging the photoreceptor inner segment. Scale bar 50µm.
» Visualization 2       Magnified images where putative rods, not visible after using the conventional image combination method, become visible using the SMART combination owing to the contrast improvement. Red arrows point to putative rods. Scale bar 50µm.
» Visualization 3       Image contrast enhancement of the retinal ganglion cell layer after applying the SMART method in comparison to the conventional method to combine off-axis images. Scale bar 50µm.
» Visualization 4       Influence of offset aperture orientation on blood vessel wall image contrast. Yellow and red arrows point to vertical and horizontal vessels respectively. Scale bar 50µm.

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