An imaging polarimeter using liquid-crystal variable retarders (Bueno, J. M., Artal, P. (1999). Double-pass imaging polarimetry in the human eye. Optics Letters, 24, 64–66) has been used to study the parameters of polarization in the living human eye. Retardation introduced by birefringent structures of the eye has been calculated by using a spatially resolved collection of Mueller matrices obtained from series of 16 double-pass retinal images. Results for images with a 2-mm pupil diameter show that although the retardation introduced by the eye in a double-pass varies among individuals, at the central cornea the slow axis is directed along the upper-temporal to lower-nasal line and the ellipticity is close to zero, which indicates the presence of linear birefringence. As pupil size increased, the measured retardation also increased, while ocular birefringence remained linear and azimuthal angle changed without a clear tendency. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.