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Chapter 7:
The Eye, Hartmann, Shack, and Scheiner
Abstract
Vision science may be perceived as a very mature science. However, today visual optics uses and further develops methods like those better known from defense and astronomy, such as wavefront sensing and adaptive optics. Interestingly, the optical system of the human eye used, e.g., aspheric surfaces and gradient-index optical media, long before these terms were coined, and the science of optics has dealt with the challenges of developing technically aspheric surfaces and gradient index (GRIN) lenses. Complying with the intention of this volume to honor and amuse Adolf Lohmann, I will put some small spotlights on visual optics, with special attention to Christophorus Scheiner who, 380 years ago, described the underlying principle for testing the state of refraction of human eyes, similar to the one used today in the Hartmann-Shack sensor. Refractive surgery - changing the shape of the cornea through ablation using radiation from an excimer laser - has greatly stimulated scientific and commercial interest in methods to map the topography of the cornea and, more importantly, to measure and analyze the imaging or wavefront transmission properties of the complete optical system of the eye, and to do optical design on the eye to reduce its aberrations.
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CHAPTER 7
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