CHICAGO — Adaptive optics, a technology developed for astronomy applications, can be used in ophthalmology to view individual photoreceptors, a speaker said here.
“Adaptive optics is a technology that is used to improve performance of optical systems by reducing the effect of wavefront aberration,” Judy E. Kim, MD, told colleagues at Retina Subspecialty Day preceding the joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.
“Until now, rods have been very difficult to image,” Kim said. But rods and cones can be imaged using adaptive optics and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy technology that is in development, she said.
Potential applications include imaging blood flow in vivo, deeper imaging of retinal pigment epithelial cells, and superficial imaging of retinal nerve fiber layers.
“Personally, I think the factor that is most blocking is the time required to acquire images, process and analyze the images,” Kim said. These tasks can sometimes take hours or days to perform, she said.
“If we believe that it is important to detect cell loss early and to detect disease process early, then [adaptive optics] will be helpful,” Kim said.
The technology, however, is not yet ready for “prime time,” she said.
Disclosure: Kim is a consultant or speaker for Alimera Sciences, Allergan and Genentech.