Parafoveal function is important for daily visual tasks such as reading. Here the variability in cone density along the four cardinal meridians in parafoveal regions of the retina was investigated in vivo using an adaptive optics fundus camera. Ten healthy normal trichromatic individuals were included in the study. There were significant differences in cone density between individuals at all four tested eccentricities (0.5, 1, 2 and 3°) and meridians. Cone density ranged from 34,900 to 63,000 cones/mm(2) at 1° horizontally, and from 31,600 to 60,700 at 1° vertically. The results were consistent with those of Curcio et al. (1990), although between-individual variability is greater than previously reported in the parafovea from 1 to 3.2°.