Scanning laser polarimetry (SLP) is a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope with an integrated polarimeter that measures the amount of retardation (phase shift) of a polarized, near-infrared laser beam as it passes through the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) [6, 12, 18-22]. The RNFL is made of highly ordered parallel axon bundles. The axons contain microtubules, cylindrical intracellular organelles with diameters smaller than the wavelength of light. The highly ordered structure of the microtubules is the source of RNFL birefringence . Different birefringence patterns are detected when the RNFL is healthy versus atrophied from glaucoma.
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