A major problem in AO retinal imaging is the strong field angle dependence of many optical aberrations of the eye, a property shared by most optical systems. This means that single conjugate AO aberration correction, which only measures aberrations in one direction, will yield a small corrected field-of-view of approximately 1-2 degrees. Another way of expressing this problem is to say that the imaging is anisoplanatic, which makes the task of imaging larger areas a time consuming process.
Correcting anisoplanatic systems is not straightforward. A proposed method to deal with this limitation of single-conjugate AO is to use multiple deformable mirrors and probe beacons to increase the corrected field-of-view, a concept known as multi-conjugate AO (MCAO).
Our research group published the first experimental evaluation and practical application of MCAO in the eye with a laboratory demonstrator that made use of two deformable mirrors and five probe beacons, consequently termed dual-conjugate AO (DCAO). The demonstrator design has been optimized and miniaturized into a transportable desktop proof-of-concept prototype that has been designed for clinical use and features a field-of-view of approximately 7x7 degrees.
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