Opto-mechanical engineers are taking advantage of the birefringence exhibited in uniaxial crystals to control light in a wide range of applications. Software tools are required which can handle light propagation through such crystals; but these tools must also offer an intuitive interface to the user. Rigorous physics calculations are required at the optical component level to deal with beam doubling and flux propagation. However, these components are immediately combined into sub-assemblies where opto-mechanical packaging concerns arise. An intuitive, CAD-like interface coupled with accurate ray propagation algorithms has been implemented in TracePro, a commercial optical analysis program. In this tool components, sub-assemblies, and assemblies can be readily positioned and oriented. The performance of the optical systems is evaluated via raytracing. In essence, the software presents a virtual laboratory or optical bench. The birefringence ray tracing capability in a three dimensional, computer aided design (CAD) environment will be described. This analysis provides the design engineer the capability to model a variety of optical components used in telecom applications such as polarization independent isolators, circulators, beam displacers and interleavers. Several examples illustrating the application of this analysis will be presented.© (2002) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.