Confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope

Appl Opt. 1987 Apr 15;26(8):1492-9. doi: 10.1364/AO.26.001492.


A confocal scanning imager moves an illumination spot over the object and a (virtual) detector synchronously over the image. In the confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope this is accomplished by reusing the source optics for detection. The common optical elements are all mirrors-either flat or spherical-and the scanners are positioned to compensate astigmatism due to mirror tilt. The source beam aperture at the horizontal scanner is small. Light returning from the eye is processed by the same elements, but now the polygon's facet is overfilled. A solid-state detector may be at either a pupillary or retinal conjugate plane in the descanned beam and still have proper throughput matching. Our 1-mm avalanche photodiode at a pupillary plane is preceded by interchangeable stops at an image (retinal) plane. Not only can we reject scattered light to a degree unusual for viewing the retina, but we choose selectively among direct and scattered components of the light returning from the eye. One (of many) consequences is that this ophthalmoscope gives crisp and complete retinal images in He-Ne light without dilation of the pupil.