To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of <i>in vivo</i> depth-resolved birefringence measurements of the human retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) by use of polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT). Because glaucoma causes nerve fiber layer damage, which may cause loss of retinal birefringence, PS-OCT is a potentially useful technique for the early detection of glaucoma. We built a fiber-based PS-OCT setup that produces quasi-real-time images of the human retina <i>in vivo</i> . Preliminary measurements of a healthy volunteer showed that the double-pass phase retardation per unit depth of the RNFL near the optic nerve head is 39±6<sup>°</sup>/100µm .
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(110.7050) Imaging systems : Turbid media
(170.4460) Medical optics and biotechnology : Ophthalmic optics and devices
(170.4500) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical coherence tomography
(260.1440) Physical optics : Birefringence
Barry Cense, Teresa C. Chen, B. Hyle Park, Mark C. Pierce, and Johannes F. de Boer, "Invivo depth-resolved birefringence measurements of the human retinal nerve fiber layer by polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography," Opt. Lett. 27, 1610-1612 (2002)