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Adaptive Optics Boosts Performance of Retinal Optical Coherence Tomography

Cardiff, UK – February 21, 2007:   Researchers at Cardiff University's School of Optometry and Vision Sciences have used adaptive optics techniques to improve the spatial resolution of optical coherence tomography by a factor of 5 in linear dimension, driving new research into the clinical applications of adaptive optics in retinal imaging for early pathology detection. Imagine Eyes' mirao™ 52-d Electromagnetic Deformable Mirror is a key component of their AO system.
  Professor Wolfgang Drexler of the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University and his team have used Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT), enhanced with Imagine Eyes’ patented adaptive optics technology, to develop new clinical imaging techniques dedicated to improving early detection and treatment options for retinal pathologies. The team has unveiled some of the first-ever, high-definition, 3-dimensional images of the retinal microstructures of a living human eye. These images were produced without any damage or discomfort to the subjects that participated in the study.

What sets Prof. Drexler’s work apart from other projects in this domain is that his single deformable mirror technique is capable of imaging the retina of an exceptionally large range of subjects, including those whose corneas present near pathological defects that impede other adaptive optics techniques from being widely used. One of they key areas of
Atlas of Laser Scanning Ophthalmoscopy, Scheuerle
interest of this new approach is in the early detection of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), one of the leading causes of debilitating vision loss in the world.

“As is the case with many pathologies, early detection is paramount to slowing the progress of a disease as well as to providing timely treatment” said Prof. Drexler who will receive the prestigious Cogan Award at the 2007 Annual ARVO Meeting for his recent work. He continues by adding, “this work will play an important role in the development of new medical devices that will overcome the limits of current technologies that ophthalmologists rely on for retinal imaging.”

Standard OCT has a limited voxel (three-dimensional) resolution of 15µm×15µm×10µm, leaving the details of the photoreceptor cells that enable vision indistinguishable to researchers. Prof. Drexler used Imagine Eyes’ patented mirao 52-d Electromagnetic Deformable Mirror, along with chromatic aberration correction, to improve the resolution of his OCT equipment by a factor of 5 in linear dimension (80-fold in volume), to 3µm×3µm×3µm.

The research team includes the Biomedical Imaging Group, Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales, UK, the Laboratorio de Optica, Universidad de Murcia, Centro de Investigacion en Optica y Nanotecnologia, Campus de Espindardo, Murcia, Spain, and the Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, Meudon, France.

Imagine Eyes is currently developing a commercial version of its next generation retinal camera, based on its adaptive optics technology, with three partner institutions, ( Centre Hospitalier National d’Ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, Paris; Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil, Créteil, France, and Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades), world-renowned for their expertise in retinal ophthalmology. The prototype of the device, scheduled for delivery in 2007, will enable ophthalmologists to take advantage of adaptive optics in everyday clinical settings, opening treatment options and improving the prognosis for their patients.

Further Information: 
Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Techniques (Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging), W. Drexler (ed.), 2003, SPIE Vol.5140.
Full Press Release

© 2007
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Optical Coherence Tomography, Bouma 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!', Feynman