The photoreceptors of the living human eye are known to exhibit waveguide-characteristic features. This is evidenced by the Stiles–Crawford effect observed for light incident near the pupil rim, and by the directional component of light reflected off the retina in the related optical Stiles–Crawford effect. We describe a model for the coupling of light to/from photoreceptors on the basis of waveguide theory that includes diffraction between the eye pupil and the photoreceptor apertures, and we show that valuable insight can be gained from a Gaussian approximation to the mode field. We apply this knowledge to a detailed study of the relationship between the Stiles–Crawford effect and its optical counterpart.
© 2005 Optical Society of America