An in-depth characterization of the optical properties of bovine retinal and retinal pigment epithelium-choroidal tissues has been performed. The indices of refraction of these ocular tissues were determined by applying Brewster’s law. The inverse adding doubling method based on the diffusion approximation and radiative transport theory is applied to the measured values of the total diffuse transmission, total diffuse reflection, and collimated transmission to calculate the optical absorption, scattering, and scattering anisotropy coefficients of the bovine retinal and retinal pigment epithelium-choroidal tissues. The values of the optical properties obtained from the inverse adding doubling method are compared with those generated by the Monte Carlo simulation technique. Optical polarization measurements are also performed on bovine retinal tissues. Our studies show that both retina and retinal pigment epithelium-choroid possess strong polarization characteristics. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.