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J Vis. 2009 Mar 25;9(3):21.1-17. doi: 10.1167/9.3.21.

Determination of foveal location using scanning laser polarimetry.

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School of Optometry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


The fovea is the retinal location responsible for our most acute vision. There are several methods used to localize the fovea, but the fovea is not always easily identifiable. Landmarks used to determine the foveal location are variable in normal subjects and localization becomes even more difficult in instances of retinal disease. In normal subjects, the photoreceptor axons that make up the Henle fiber layer are cylindrical and the radial orientation of these fibers is centered on the fovea. The Henle fiber layer exhibits form birefringence, which predictably changes polarized light in scanning laser polarimetry imaging. In this study 3 graders were able to repeatably identify the fovea in 35 normal subjects using near infrared image types with differing polarization content. There was little intra-grader, inter-grader, and inter-image variability in the graded foveal position for 5 of the 6 image types examined, with accuracy sufficient for clinical purposes. This study demonstrates that scanning laser polarimetry imaging can localize the fovea by using structural properties inherent in the central macula.

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