© 2018 The Authors. PURPOSE. We used acoustic radiation force optical coherence elastography (ARF-OCE) to map out the elasticity of retinal layers in healthy and diseased in vivo rabbit models for the first time. METHODS. A healthy rabbit eye was proptosed and imaged using ARF-OCE, by measuring the tissue deformation after an acoustic force is applied. A diseased retinal inflammation model was used to observe the contrast before and after disease formation. Retinal histologic analysis was performed to identify layers of the retina corresponding with the optical images. RESULTS. The general trend of the retinal layer elasticity is increasing stiffness from the ganglion side to the photoreceptor side, with the stiffest layer being the sclera. In a healthy rabbit model, the mechanical properties varied from 3 to 16 kPa for the five layers that were identified via optical imaging and histology (3.09 ± 0.46, 3.82 ± 0.88, 4.53 ± 0.74, 6.59 ± 2.27, 16.11 ± 5.13 kPa). In the diseased model, we have induced optical damage in a live rabbit and observed a change in the stiffness trend in its retina. CONCLUSIONS. High sensitivity elasticity maps can be obtained using the ARF-OCE system to differentiate different retinal layers. Subtle changes in the mechanical properties during the onset of diseases, such as retinal degeneration, can be measured and aid in early clinical diagnosis. This study validates our imaging system for the characterization of retinal elasticity for the detection of retinal diseases in vivo.