Innovations in OCT continue to improve the technology

October 15, 2005

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an important imaging technology that allows high-resolution cross-sectional imaging of microstructures in the eye.

Chicago-Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an important imaging technology that allows high-resolution cross-sectional imaging of microstructures in the eye. Since the technology was first introduced, successive generations have improved considerably.

Jay Duker, MD, described prototype ultra-high resolution OCT and high-speed spectral OCT Saturday during the retina subspecialty day at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

Ultra-high resolution OCT became available in 2002 and the resolution increased to 2 µm from 10 µm in the previous generation (Stratus OCT3, Carl Zeiss Meditec).

“The advantages of higher resolution include clearer distinction of the retinal layers with better visualization of the retinal details. Such technology holds the promise of enabling us to quantify the outer retinal layers and follow changes in the anatomic layers in various disease states,” he said. Dr. Duker is professor and chairman, department of ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

Despite the advances in the technology, the disadvantages of the ultra-high resolution OCT are the high cost of the light source and the long acquisition time of the images.

Spectral OCT resolves the problem of the long acquisition time.

“This technology allows acquisition of images 60 times faster than was possible with OCT3. The Spectral system allows even better axial resolution, improved retinal coverage, improved image quality, and, most importantly, decreased acquisition time that allows precise registration and three-dimensional imaging,” Dr. Duker said.

He suggests that a more useful application of the Spectral system is the creation of an OCT fundus scan from the three-dimensional data.

“This solves what has been a long-standing problem for OCT-the registration of cross-sectional images to a fundus photograph,” he said.

“These new prototype systems are faster and more precise than currently available systems. This technology holds promise for allowing better diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases especially those involved with photoreceptors,” Dr. Duker stated.