PURPOSE To demonstrate the viability of improving transverse image resolution in reflectance scanning adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy using sub-Airy disk confocal detection.
METHODS The foveal cone mosaic was imaged in five human subjects free of known eye disease using two custom adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopes (AOSLOs) in reflectance with 7.75 and 4.30 mm pupil diameters. Confocal pinholes of 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 Airy disk diameters (ADDs) were used in a retinal conjugate plane before the light detector. Average cone photoreceptor intensity profile width and power spectrum were calculated for the resulting images. Detected energy using a model eye was recorded for each pinhole size.
RESULTS The cone photoreceptor mosaic is better resolved with decreasing confocal pinhole size, with the high spatial frequency content of the images enhanced in both the large- and small-pupil AOSLOs. The average cone intensity profile width was reduced by ∼15% with the use of a 0.5 ADD pinhole when compared to a 1.0 ADD, with an accompanying reduction in signal greater than a factor of four.
CONCLUSIONS The use of sub-Airy disk confocal pinhole detection without increasing retinal light exposure results in a substantial improvement in image resolution at the cost of larger than predicted signal reduction.
TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE Improvement in transverse resolution using sub-Airy disk confocal detection is a practical and low-cost approach that is applicable to all point- and line-scanning ophthalmoscopes, including optical coherence tomographers.