May 15, 2014
1 min read

New developments for OCT technology already in pipeline for clinical applications

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PARIS — Optical coherence tomography has much more to offer than what is currently on the market, according to Wolfgang Drexler, PhD, a scientist who has played a leading role in the development of this technology.

Wolfgang Drexler

OCT is one of the most successful and fastest adopted imaging techniques in ophthalmology. First produced by Zeiss in 1990, it is now in the product list of more than 50 companies. In 20 years, resolution has improved by 10 times and OCT is 1 million times faster, he said at the meeting of the French Society of Ophthalmology.

OCT has now reached third generation with swept-source OCT, which is faster, more sensitive and enables visualization of the choroid, a key structure in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Combination with adaptive optics, which compensate for aberrations, also allows three-dimensional visualization of single photoreceptor cells, cones and rods.

“What we have is a multi-scale, multi-resolution technique. You go from larger area, extract topographic information and then you spot out the suspicious lesions, take your magnifying glasses and look into them at a cellular level,” Drexler said.

Another important development is functional OCT, capable of providing noninvasive, label-free microangiography for quantifying blood flow, similar to fluorescein angiography and indocyanine green but without any contrast agent.

These developments are already in the pipeline and, based on the speed that has characterized OCT development, should be available in the near future. Another goal is a miniaturized OCT — “OCT in a chip” — for hand-held small portable devices.

Disclosure: Drexler is a consultant to Carl Zeiss Meditec.