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Numerical simulations have predicted the distribution of transmembrane potential during electrical stimulation of cardiac tissue. When comparing these predictions to measurements obtained using optical mapping techniques, the optical signal should not be compared to the transmembrane potential calculated at the surface of the tissue, but instead to the transmembrane potential averaged over depth. In this paper, the bidomain model is used to calculate the transmembrane potential in a three-dimensional slab of cardiac tissue, stimulated by a unipolar electrode on the tissue surface. For an optical decay constant of 0.3 mm and an electrode radius of 1 mm, the surface transmembrane potential is more than a factor of three larger than the transmembrane potential averaged over depth. Our results suggest that optical mapping underestimates the surface transmembrane potential during electrical stimulation.