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Polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography of the rabbit eye


A polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT) system was used to acquire depth-resolved images of the Stokes parameters of light backreflected from ex vivo rabbit eyes. The light backreflected from the eye interferes with that from the reference arm and is coherently detected in two orthogonal polarization channels. The two signals are digitized and the four Stokes parameters (I, Q, U, and V) of the backreflected light are computed for light backreflected from each longitudinal/lateral position in the eye. From the measured Stokes parameters, an estimate of the relative phase retardation between the two orthogonal polarizations can be determined. Two eyes were enucleated, imaged within 6-h postmortem and histology performed. Images of the Stokes parameters of light backreflected from the corneal stroma show significant local variations in the polarization state, possibly due to local changes in stromal structure. Depth-resolved Stokes parameter images of light backreflected from the retina were also acquired. A birefringent layer was observed at the position consistent with the known location of the nerve fiber layer (NFL). The local thickness of the birefringent layer determined with PSOCT was in good agreement with values determined histologically.

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