A detailed image of the entire eye is now possible thanks to the development of an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system incorporating a lens that changes optical parameters in response to an electric current. The innovation could make eye examinations faster and more comfortable for patients by avoiding the need to undergo imaging with multiple instruments to look at different areas of the eye.
“Diseases such as glaucoma affect both the front and back portions of the eye,” said Ireneusz Grulkowski, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, who worked with a Spanish team to develop the system. “An instrument that can examine the whole eye will improve the patient’s experience because they won’t have to go through imaging with different devices. It might also, one day, reduce the number of instruments – which can be quite expensive – needed in an ophthalmology clinic.”
The OCT can image the front and back of the eye as well as interfaces of the eye’s vitreous gel with the retina and lens, with unprecedented detail. This could allow scientists to better understand how the vitreous gel that fills the eye interacts with the retina and why it can become detached with aging.
“We also want to use our instrument to measure opacities in the eye’s crystal lens and the vitreous to better understand how various parts of the eye affect the deterioration of vision,” he said. This could open up new ophthalmology applications for OCT.