Spectral imaging device offers safe retina test

October 15, 2004

Glasgow, Scotland-A new, noninvasive method of studying the retina's blood vessels to monitor disease progression could replace the need for fluorescein angiograms.

Glasgow, Scotland-A new, noninvasive method of studying the retina's blood vessels to monitor disease progression could replace the need for fluorescein angiograms.

A team of researchers headed by Sonny Ramachandran from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh is testing a modified ophthalmoscope that allows them to take pictures of the retina at a series of specific wavelengths.

The spectral imaging device, presented at the Institute of Physics conference Photon '04 in Glasgow, adds a liquid crystal-tuneable filter and captures images with a cooled, low-noise CCD camera. Eye movements can be corrected and digital images stored in a "data cube."

"We are now at the stage of performing much more rigorous trials in a clinical setting, but we hope that this will be a promising new tool," said physicist Andrew Harvey, CPhys, FInstP, one of the project supervisors. "Some of the existing screening techniques, such as fluorescein angiography for diabetic patients, can be painful and in some cases dangerous, with patients dying during treatment. This new technique is safe, quick, and simple, and totally noninvasive, so going for regular check-ups every 4 months won't be so daunting for patients."