Interferometry is a sensitive technique for recording tear film surface irregularities in a noninvasive manner. At the same time, the technique is hindered by natural eye movements resulting in measurement noise. Estimating tear film surface quality from interferograms can be reduced to a spatial-average-localized weighted estimate of the first harmonic of the interference fringes. However, previously reported estimation techniques proved to perform poorly in cases where the pattern fringes were significantly disturbed. This can occur in cases of measuring tear film surface quality on a contact lens on the eye or in a dry eye. We present a new estimation technique for extracting the first harmonic from the interference fringes that combines the traditional spectral estimation techniques with morphological image processing techniques. The proposed technique proves to be more robust to changes in interference fringes caused by natural eye movements and the degree of dryness of the contact lens and corneal surfaces than its predecessors, resulting in tear film surface quality estimates that are less noisy.
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