Two methods for the determination of refraction angle profiles from radio occultation measurements in multipath areas are analyzed and compared: (1) the radio-optic method based on the analysis of the local spatial spectra of the measured wave field and (2) the back propagation of the received wave field to a single-ray region. The basic limitations of the radio-optic method are (1) the restriction of the resolution of refraction angle profiles due to the uncertainty relation of refraction angle and impact parameter and (2) diffractive effects in subcaustic areas, where the spatial spectra cannot be interpreted in terms of geometric optical rays. The basic limitation of the back propagation method is related to ray and caustic structures, which may not contain single-ray areas. It is shown that strong refraction reduces the uncertainties of refraction angle and impact parameter. On the other hand, strong refraction or superrefraction is responsible for complicated caustic structures that cannot be resolved by the back propagation technique. The two methods are thus complementary to each other and can be combined for processing lower tropospheric occultation data. This analysis is corroborated by numerical simulations based on global fields of atmospheric variables from analyses of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast.