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J Biomed Opt. 2011 Jul;16(7):076001. doi: 10.1117/1.3595710.

Hyperspectral optical imaging of human iris in vivo: characteristics of reflectance spectra.

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  • 1University of Minho, Centre of Physics, Department of Physics, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057, Braga, Portugal.


We report a hyperspectral imaging system to measure the reflectance spectra of real human irises with high spatial resolution. A set of ocular prosthesis was used as the control condition. Reflectance data were decorrelated by the principal-component analysis. The main conclusion is that spectral complexity of the human iris is considerable: between 9 and 11 principal components are necessary to account for 99% of the cumulative variance in human irises. Correcting image misalignments associated with spontaneous ocular movements did not influence this result. The data also suggests a correlation between the first principal component and different levels of melanin present in the irises. It was also found that although the spectral characteristics of the first five principal components were not affected by the radial and angular position of the selected iridal areas, they affect the higher-order ones, suggesting a possible influence of the iris texture. The results show that hyperspectral imaging in the iris, together with adequate spectroscopic analyses provide more information than conventional colorimetric methods, making hyperspectral imaging suitable for the characterization of melanin and the noninvasive diagnosis of ocular diseases and iris color.

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