Automated iris recognition is a promising method for noninvasive verification of identity. Although it is noninvasive, the procedure requires considerable cooperation from the user. In typical acquisition systems, the subject must carefully position the head laterally to make sure that the captured iris falls within the field-of-view of the digital image acquisition system. Furthermore, the need for sufficient energy at the plane of the detector calls for a relatively fast optical system which results in a narrow depth-of-field. This latter issue requires the user to move the head back and forth until the iris is in good focus. In this paper, we address the depth-of-field problem by studying the effectiveness of specially designed aspheres that extend the depth-of-field of the image capture system. In this initial study, we concentrate on the cubic phase mask originally proposed by Dowski and Cathey. Laboratory experiments are used to produce representative captured irises with and without cubic asphere masks modifying the imaging system. The iris images are then presented to a well-known iris recognition algorithm proposed by Daugman. In some cases we present unrestored imagery and in other cases we attempt to restore the moderate blur introduced by the asphere. Our initial results show that the use of such aspheres does indeed relax the depth-of-field requirements even without restoration of the blurred images. Furthermore, we find that restorations that produce visually pleasing iris images often actually degrade the performance of the algorithm. Different restoration parameters are examined to determine their usefulness in relation to the recognition algorithm.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.