Enhanced Vasculature Imaging of the Retina Using Optical Coherence Tomography
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging modality that uses low coherence interferometry to generate three-dimensional datasets of a sample's structure. OCT has found tremendous clinical applications in imaging the retina and has demonstrated great utility in the diagnosis of various retinal diseases. However, such diagnoses rely upon the ability to observe abnormalities in the structure of the retina caused by pathology. By the time an ocular disease has progressed to the point of affecting the morphology of the retina, irreversible vision loss in the eye may already occur. Changes in the functionality of the tissue often precede changes to the structure. Thus, if imaging methods are developed to provide additional functional information about the behavior and response of the retinal tissue and vasculature, earlier treatment for disease may be prescribed, thus preserving vision for the patient.
Within the last decade, significant technological advances in OCT systems have enabled high-speed and high sensitivity image acquisition using either spectral domain OCT (SDOCT) or swept-source OCT (SSOCT) configurations. Such systems use Fourier processing to extract structural information of a sample from interferometric principles. But such systems also have access to the optical phase information, which allows for functional analysis of sample dynamics. This dissertation details the development and application of methods using both intensity and phase information as a tool for studying interesting biological phenomena. The goal of this work is an extension of techniques to image the vasculature in the retina and enhance the clinical utility of OCT.
I first outline basic theory necessary for understanding the principles of OCT. I then describe OCT phase imaging in cellular applications as a demonstration of the ability of OCT to provide functional information on biological dynamics. Phase imaging methods suffer from an artifact known as phase wrapping, and I have developed a software technique to overcome this problem in OCT, thus extending its usefulness in providing quantitative information. I characterize the limitations in measuring moving scatterers with Doppler OCT in both SDOCT and SSOCT system. I also show the ability to image the vasculature in the retina using variance imaging with a high-speed retinal imaging system and software based methods to correct for patient motion and create a widefield mosaic in an automated manner. Finally, future directions for this work are discussed.
Medical imaging and radiology
Optical coherence tomography
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