Austin Roorda, PhD

Austin Roorda

Professor of Optometry and Vision Science

School of Optometry



Chair & Head Graduate Advisor,Vision Science Program


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)

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.

Selected Publications

Arathorn, D. W., Stevenson, S. B., Yang, Q., Tiruveedhula, P., & Roorda, A. “How the unstable eye sees a stable and moving world.” Journal of Vision, 13(10):22, 1–19,, doi:10.1167/13.10.22.

Ratnam, K., Carroll, J., Porco, T.C., Duncan, J.L., Roorda, A. “Relationship between foveal cone structure and clinical measures of visual function in patients with inherited retinal degenerations” Invest Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci. 54(8), 5836-5847. (2013).

Rossi, E.A., Achtman,R.L., Guidon,A., Williams,G.A., Roorda,A., Carroll,J. “Visual function and cortical organization in carriers of blue cone monochromacy”. PLoS ONE, 8(2) e57956. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057956 (2013)

Braaf, B., Vienola,K., Sheehy,C.K., Yang,Q., Vermeer,K.A., Tiruveedhula,P., Arathorn,D.W., Roorda,A., & de Boer,J.F. “Real-time eye motion correction in phase-resolved OCT angiography with tracking SLO” Biomedical Optics Express, 4(1), 51-65. (2013).

Harmening, W.M., Tiruveedhula,P., Roorda,A., Sincich,L.C. “Measurement and correction of transverse chromatic offsets for multi-wavelength retinal microscopy in the living eye.” Biomedical Optics Express, 3(9), 2066-2077 (2012)

Tuten, W.S., Tiruveedhula, P., Roorda, A. “Adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope-based microperimetry” Optom.Vis.Sci. 89, 563-574. (2012).

Talcott, K.E., Ratnam,K., Sundquist,S.M., Lucero,A.S., Lujan,B.J., Tao,W., Porco,T.C., Roorda,A., Duncan,J.L. “Longitudinal Study of Cone Photoreceptors during Retinal Degeneration and in Response to Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor Treatment” Invest Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci., 52(5), 2219-2226. (2011)

Tam, J., Martin, J. A., Roorda, A., “Non-invasive visualization and analysis of parafoveal capillaries in humans” Invest. Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci. 51 (3): 1691-1698 (2010).

Rossi, E .A., Roorda, A. “The relationship between visual resolution and cone spacing in the human fovea” Nature Neuroscience 13, 156-157 (2010).

Sincich, L.C., Zhang, Y., Tiruveedhula, P., Horton, J.C., Roorda, A., “Resolving single cone inputs to visual receptive fields” Nature Neuroscience, 12: 967-969 (2009).

Arathorn D. W., Yang Q., Vogel C. R., Zhang Y., Tiruveedhula P., and Roorda A, “Retinally stabilized cone-targeted stimulus delivery,” Opt. Express 15, 13731-13744 (2007).

Duncan, J. L., Zhang, Y., Gandhi ,J., Nakanishi,C., Othman,M., Branham,K.H., Swaroop,A., Roorda,A. “High resolution imaging of foveal cones in patients with inherited retinal degenerations using adaptive optics.” Invest.Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci. 48: 3283-3291 (2007).

Roorda, A., Zhang,Y., Duncan,J.L. “High-resolution in vivo imaging of the RPE mosaic in eyes with retinal disease.” Invest.Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci. 48(5): 2297-2303 (2007).

Zhang, Y., Poonja, S., Roorda, A. “MEMS-based Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy” Optics Letters, 31, 1268-1270 (2006).

Poonja, S., Patel, S., Henry, L., Roorda, A, “Dynamic visual stimulus presentation in an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope” Journal of Refractive Surgery 21(5): 575-580 (2005).

Cheng, H., Barnett, J. K., Vilupuru, A .S., Marsack, J .D., Kasthurirangan, S., Applegate, R.A., Roorda, A. “A Population Study on Changes in Wave Aberration with Accommodation” J.Vision 4(4), 272-280 (2004).

Roorda, A., Romero-Borja, F., Donnelly III, W.J., Queener, H., Hebert, T.J., Campbell, M.C.W. “Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy” Opt. Express 10(9) 405-412 (2002).

Wilson, B. J., Decker, K .E., Roorda, A. “Monochromatic Aberrations Provide and Odd-Error Cue to Focus Direction” J.Opt.Soc.Am.A. 19(5) 833-839 (2002).

Roorda, A., Williams, D. R. “The Arrangement of the Three Cone Classes in the Living Human Eye” Nature 397: 520-522 (1999).

Roorda, A., Bobier, W. R., Campbell, M.C.W. “Slope-based Eccentric Photorefraction: Theoretical Analysis of Different Light Source Configurations and Effects of Ocular Aberrations”, J. Opt. Soc. Am. A. 14: 2547-2556 (1997).