The human eye has a complex and exquisitely designed optical system, yet when compared with modern optical systems, its image quality is surprisingly poor. Our lab investigates these earliest stages of vision, from the formation of the retinal image to its sampling by the photoreceptor mosaic.
We develop advanced instruments to measure and overcome the optical limits of the eye. For example, we employ adaptive optics - a technology originally developed for astronomical imaging from ground-based telescopes - to correct the eye’s aberrations and to image and/or present stimuli to the retina with unprecedented resolution. Overcoming optical limitations with adaptive optics has allowed us to make new discoveries in vision science, from mapping the trichromatic cone mosaic for the first time ever to learning how human visual acuity responds to an aberration correction.
Our most recent effort involves the development and use of the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) for such clinical applications as blood flow, optical sectioning of the retina, microperimetry, precise measurements of fixation and eye-tracking. We are making instruments more robust, and we are making them more compact using state-of-the-art wavefront correcting technology such as MEMS deformable mirrors. Such non-invasive microscopic imaging techniques promise to improve diagnosis, understanding and even treatment of blinding retinal diseases.
In the News
The National Eye Institute (NEI) has awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant for a UC Berkeley-led project to map the interaction of retinal cells in an effort to better understand how visual data is processed before it is sent to the brain.
Researchers at UC Berkeley are developing vision-correcting displays that can compensate for a viewer’s visual impairments to create sharp images without the need for glasses or contact lenses. The technology could potentially help those who currently need corrective lenses to use their smartphones, tablets and computers, and could one day aid people with more complex visual problems.