We present a clinically deployable adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) that features micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) deformable mirror (DM) based adaptive optics (AO) and low coherent light sources. With the miniaturized optical aperture of a μDMS-MultiTM MEMS DM (Boston Micromachines Corporation, Watertown, MA), we were able to develop a compact and robust AOSLO optical system that occupies a 50 cm X 50 cm area on a mobile optical table. We introduced low coherent light sources, which are superluminescent laser diodes (SLD) at 680 nm with 9 nm bandwidth and 840 nm with 50 nm bandwidth, in confocal scanning ophthalmoscopy to eliminate interference artifacts in the images. We selected a photo multiplier tube (PMT) for photon signal detection and designed low noise video signal conditioning circuits. We employed an acoustic-optical (AOM) spatial light modulator to modulate the light beam so that we could avoid unnecessary exposure to the retina or project a specific stimulus pattern onto the retina. The MEMS DM based AO system demonstrated robust performance. The use of low coherent light sources effectively mitigated the interference artifacts in the images and yielded high-fidelity retinal images of contiguous cone mosaic. We imaged patients with inherited retinal degenerations including cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). We have produced high-fidelity, real-time, microscopic views of the living human retina for healthy and diseased eyes.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.