Numerous types of wavefront correctors have been employed in adaptive optics (AO) systems for correcting the wave aberrations of the eye. While each has been shown to reduce the degrading impact of the ocular aberrations, none have shown sufficient correction to yield diffraction-limited imaging for large pupils (≥6 mm), where the aberrations are most severe and the benefit of AO is largest. As the wavefront corrector appears to be the limiting AO component, it raises a fundamental concern as to what characteristics of this device, in particular actuator stroke and number, are required to achieve diffraction-limited imaging, and to optimally match corrector performance and cost to that required of a particular imaging task in the eye.
In this paper, we model the performance of discrete actuator deformable mirrors, piston-only segmented mirrors, and piston/tip/tilt segmented mirrors in conjunction with wavefront aberrations measured on human eyes in two large population datasets (University of Rochester and Indiana University). The actuator stroke and number required to achieve diffraction-limited imaging for a 7.5 mm pupil were found to be highly dependent on the level of 2nd order aberrations and the population considered. Specifically, the required stroke for encompassing 95% of the population ranged from 12-53 (Rochester) and 7-11 (Indiana) microns. The wide range resulted from whether 2nd order aberrations were corrected or set to zero prior to correction. To achieve a Strehl > 0.8, the actuator number across the pupil diameter ranged from >14 (Rochester) and 11-14 (Indiana) for discrete actuator deformable mirrors, >95 (Rochester) and 50-90 (Indiana) for piston-only segmented mirrors, and finally 12-19 (Rochester) and 9-10 (Indiana) for piston/tip/tilt segmented mirrors.