A method to simultaneously control aberrations and the aperture of an optical system using a single phase-only spatial light modulator was investigated. The experiment was performed using a liquid-crystal-on-silicon spatial light modulator (LCoS-SLM) within an adaptive optics system used for visual testing, although the method has broader applications in adaptive optics field. The performance of the technique was characterized through the estimation of the system’s modulation transfer functions (MTFs) by using a random chart method. MTFs obtained from the phase modulation-based approach were compared with those from using a real aperture (diaphragm). The areas under the MTFs for the two conditions were similar up to 98%, confirming that the low-pass filter effect associated to the size of the entrance pupil was similar for the phase-modulated pupil and the physical pupil. As an example of application, both aberrations and pupil were controlled by a single phase-only modulator to study the through-focus visual performance in real subjects. Limitations and possible enhancements of the presented method were also discussed. The presented technique reduces complexity and cost of adaptive optics systems. It opens the door to new experiments by allowing dynamic modulation of aberrations and apertures of any shape.
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