In order to investigate the sources of wave-front aberrations in the human eye, we have measured the aberrations of the anterior cornea and the whole eye using a topographic system and a psychophysical wave-front sensor. We have also calculated the aberrations for the internal optics of both eyes of 45 young subjects (aged 9 to 29 years). The mean rms for the anterior cornea was similar to that for the internal optics and the whole eye when astigmatism was included, but less than that for both the internal optics and the whole eye with astigmatism removed. For eyes with low whole-eye rms values, mean rms for the anterior cornea was greater than that for the whole eye, suggesting that the anterior corneal aberration is partially compensated by the internal optics of the eye to produce the low whole-eye rms. For eyes with larger whole-eye rms values, the rms values for both the anterior cornea and the internal optics were less than that for the whole eye. Thus the aberrations for the two elements tend to be primarily additive. This pattern exists whether or not astigmatism was included in the wave-front aberration rms. For individual Zernike terms, astigmatism and spherical aberration in the anterior cornea were partially compensated by internal optics, while some other Zernike terms showed addition between the anterior cornea and internal optics. Individual eyes show different combinations of compensation and addition across different Zernike terms. Our data suggest that the reported loss of internal compensation for anterior corneal aberrations in elderly eyes with large whole-eye aberrations [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A <b>19</b>, 137 (2002)] may also occur in young eyes.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(080.1010) Geometric optics : Aberrations (global)
(330.4300) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision system - noninvasive assessment
(330.4460) Vision, color, and visual optics : Ophthalmic optics and devices
(330.5370) Vision, color, and visual optics : Physiological optics
(330.7310) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision
Ji C. He, Jane Gwiazda, Frank Thorn, and Richard Held, "Wave-front aberrations in the anterior corneal surface and the whole eye," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 1155-1163 (2003)