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Fiber-based polarization-sensitive OCT of the human retina with correction of system polarization distortions.

Biomed Opt Express 2014, vol. 5, issue 8

In polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) the use of single-mode fibers causes unpredictable polarization distortions which can result in increased noise levels and erroneous changes in calculated polarization parameters. In the current paper this problem is addressed by a new Jones matrix analysis method that measures and corrects system polarization distortions as a function of wavenumber by spectral analysis of the sample surface polarization state and deeper located birefringent tissue structures. This method was implemented on a passive-component depth-multiplexed swept-source PS-OCT system at 1040 nm which was theoretically modeled using Jones matrix calculus. High-resolution B-scan images are presented of the double-pass phase retardation, diattenuation, and relative optic axis orientation to show the benefits of the new analysis method for in vivo imaging of the human retina. The correction of system polarization distortions yielded reduced phase retardation noise, and better estimates of the diattenuation and the relative optic axis orientation in weakly birefringent tissues. The clinical potential of the system is shown by en face visualization of the phase retardation and optic axis orientation of the retinal nerve fiber layer in a healthy volunteer and a glaucoma patient with nerve fiber loss.

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