Development of Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography and Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy: Improved Imaging Speed and Handheld Applications

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Izatt, Joseph A

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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive three-dimensional interferometric imaging technique capable of achieving micrometer scale resolution. It is now a standard of care in ophthalmology, where it is used to improve the accuracy of early diagnosis, to better understand the source of pathophysiology, and to monitor disease progression and response to therapy. In particular, retinal imaging has been the most prevalent clinical application of OCT, but researchers and companies alike are developing OCT systems for cardiology, dermatology, dentistry, and many other medical and industrial applications.

Adaptive optics (AO) is a technique used to reduce monochromatic aberrations in optical instruments. It is used in astronomical telescopes, laser communications, high-power lasers, retinal imaging, optical fabrication and microscopy to improve system performance. Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) is a noninvasive confocal imaging technique that produces high contrast two-dimensional retinal images. AO is combined with SLO (AOSLO) to compensate for the wavefront distortions caused by the optics of the eye, providing the ability to visualize the living retina with cellular resolution. AOSLO has shown great promise to advance the understanding of the etiology of retinal diseases on a cellular level.

Broadly, we endeavor to enhance the vision outcome of ophthalmic patients through improved diagnostics and personalized therapy. Toward this end, the objective of the work presented herein was the development of advanced techniques for increasing the imaging speed, reducing the form factor, and broadening the versatility of OCT and AOSLO. Despite our focus on applications in ophthalmology, the techniques developed could be applied to other medical and industrial applications. In this dissertation, a technique to quadruple the imaging speed of OCT was developed. This technique was demonstrated by imaging the retinas of healthy human subjects. A handheld, dual depth OCT system was developed. This system enabled sequential imaging of the anterior segment and retina of human eyes. Finally, handheld SLO/OCT systems were developed, culminating in the design of a handheld AOSLO system. This system has the potential to provide cellular level imaging of the human retina, resolving even the most densely packed foveal cones.





Nankivil, Derek (2016). Development of Swept Source Optical Coherence Tomography and Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy: Improved Imaging Speed and Handheld Applications. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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