Austin Roorda, PhD

Professor of Optometry and Vision Science


Head Graduate Advisor, Vision Science Program
Professor, Vision Science Program

Research Interests

High resolution retinal imaging, adaptive optics, physiological optics, limits of human vision

The human eye has a complex and exquisitely designed optical system, yet when compared with modern optical systems, its image quality is surprisingly poor. Our lab investigates these earliest stages of vision, from the formation of the retinal image to its sampling by the photoreceptor mosaic.

In our research we develop novel instruments to measure and overcome the optical limits of the eye. For example, we employ adaptive optics — a technology originally developed for astronomical imaging from ground-based telescopes — to correct the eye's aberrations and to image and/or present stimuli to the retina with unprecedented resolution. Overcoming optical limitations with adaptive optics has allowed us to make new discoveries in vision science, from mapping the trichromatic cone mosaic for the first time ever to learning how human visual acuity responds to an aberration correction.

Our most recent effort involves the development and use of the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) for such clinical applications as blood flow, optical sectioning of the retina, microperimetry, precise measurements of fixation and eye-tracking. We are making instruments more robust, and we are making them more compact using state-of-the-art wavefront correcting technology such as MEMS deformable mirrors. Such non-invasive microscopic imaging techniques promise to improve our ability to track, understand and even treat blinding retinal disease.


VS203B: Optical System and Physical Optics


Principles of optical systems, principles and clinical applications of apertures and stops, aberrations and optical instruments. Optics of the eye. Selected topics in physical optics, diffraction, interference, polarization.

VS212A: Optics and Dioptrics of the Eye

Instructor in Charge

Introduction for graduate students to basic principles of classic and modern geometric optics (thick lens systems, mirrors, prisms, apertures, and stops) and physical optics (interference, diffraction, and polarization) with emphasis on dioptrics of the human eye (including schematic eyes, aberrations, and entoptic phenomena)

Selected Publications


485 Minor Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2020