We present a polarimetric technique to improve fundus images that notably simplifies and extends a previous procedure [Opt. Lett. 27, 830 (2002)] . A generator of varying polarization states was incorporated into the illumination path of a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope. A series of four images, corresponding to independent incoming polarization states, were recorded. From these images, the spatially resolved elements of the top row of the Mueller matrix were computed. From these elements, images with the highest and lowest quality (according to different image quality metrics) were constructed, some of which provided improved visualization of fundus structures of clinical importance (vessels and optic nerve head). The metric values were better for these constructed images than for the initially recorded images and better than averaged images. Entropy is the metric that is most sensitive to differences in the image quality. Improved visualization of features could aid in the detection, localization, and tracking of ocular disease and may be applicable in other biomedical imaging.
© 2007 Optical Society of America