A Mueller matrix model of Haidinger's brushes

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Stokes vectors and Mueller matrices are used to model the polarisation properties (birefringence, dichroism and depolarisation) of any optical system, in particular the human eye. An explanation of the form and behaviour of the entoptic phenomenon of Haidinger's brushes is derived that complements and expands upon a previous study. The relationship between the appearance of Haidinger's brushes and intrinsic ocular retardation is quantified and the model allows prediction of the effect of any retarder of any orientation placed between a source of polarised light and the eye. The simple relationship of minimum contrast of Haidinger's brushes to the cosine of total retardation is derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2003


  • Ocular birefringence
  • Haidinger's brushes
  • Mueller matrices
  • Polarised light


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