We have designed, fabricated, and tested a nanoparticle-embedded phantom (NEP) incorporated into a model eye in order to characterize the point spread function (PSF) of retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) devices in three dimensions under realistic imaging conditions. The NEP comprises a sparse distribution of highly backscattering silica-gold nanoshells embedded in a transparent UV-curing epoxy. The commercially-available model eye replicates the key optical structures and focusing power of the human eye. We imaged the model eye-NEP combination with a research-grade spectral domain OCT system designed for in vivo retinal imaging and quantified the lateral and axial PSF dimensions across the field of view in the OCT images. We also imaged the model eye-NEP in a clinical OCT system. Subtle features in the PSF and its dimensions were consistent with independent measurements of lateral and axial resolution. This model eye-based phantom can provide retinal OCT device developers and users a means to rapidly, objectively, and consistently assess the PSF, a fundamental imaging performance metric.
OCIS codes: (170.4500) Optical coherence tomography, (170.4460) Ophthalmic optics and devices, (110.3000) Image quality assessment, (110.4850) Optical transfer functions, (350.4800) Optical standards and testing