The Strehl definition along the axis of a birefringent lens sandwiched between two polarizers is studied analytically. The optic axis of the birefringent lens made of a uniaxial crystal is perpendicular to the lens axis, and the system behaves like a bifocus lens for proper orientation of the polarizers. The Sparrow criterion is employed for designing an imaging system with high depth of focus. It is shown that, when the two foci are separated by the Sparrow limit of resolution, the focal depth is maximum and the intensity point-spread function remains almost identical within this limit. The resolution according to the Rayleigh criterion in this zone is more than that of an ideal lens. © 2000 Optical Society of America.