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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2009;50: E-Abstract 1059.
© 2009 ARVO


Phenotyping the Living Human Retina in vivo With Cellular Resolution

C. Torti1, B. Povazay1, B. Hofer1, A. Unterhuber1, J. Carroll2, C. Egan3, A. Bird3, P. Ahnelt4 and W. Drexler1

1School of Optometry & Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
2Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
3Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, United Kingdom
4Department of Physiology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Commercial Relationships: C. Torti, None; B. Povazay, None; B. Hofer, None; A. Unterhuber, None; J. Carroll, None; C. Egan, None; A. Bird, None; P. Ahnelt, None; W. Drexler, Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., C.

Support: Cardiff University, FP6-IST-NMP-2 STREPT (017128), DTI grant (OMICRON) and AMR grant (AP1110), FP7 (FunOCT)


Purpose:To visualise cellular structures in the human retina for non-invasive phenotyping of retinal abnormalities including colour-blindness, macular telangiectasis, retinitis pigmentosa and macular hole.

Methods:A broadband (140 nm full-width-at-half-maximum) Ti:Sapphire laser centred at 800 nm is used for illumination and an achromatizing lens provides compensation of the resulting longitudinal chromatic aberration. Monochromatic aberrations are corrected with adaptive optics utilizing a single, high-stroke (±50 µm) deformable mirror. A high speed (160 k-A-lines/s) image acquisition allows to obtain a volume of 512x512x1536 pix3 in 1.6 s. This imaging modality was applied to normal and pathological retinas.

Results:The combination of aberration correction and high-speed imaging enabled to achieve an isotropic resolution of 2-3 µm with little motion artefacts. This allowed to visualise and quantify cellular structures for non-invasive phenotyping of the human retina. The extent of cone loss in two colour-blind individuals was exposed and quantified at multiple depths within the retina. Extensive damage to several retinal layers in subjects with macular telangiectasis, retinitis pigmentosa and macular holes was revealed. The performance of the system was also demonstrated through visualisation of cellular structures that pose a great challenge for non-invasive retinal imaging including retinal pigment epithelial cells, choriocapillaris of the choroid, nerve fiber bundles and collagenous plates of the lamina cribrosa, and possibly retinal ganglion cells.

Conclusions:The depth resolution and penetration of broadband OCT combined with high transverse and axial resolution from monochromatic and longitudinal chromatic aberration compensation provides a powerful tool for non-invasive retinal imaging. This imaging modality allowed for visualisation and quantification of several retinal abnormalities with extensive depth-probing capabilities, allowing to non-invasively phenotype the living human retina.

Keywords: imaging methods (CT, FA, ICG, MRI, OCT, RTA, SLO, ultrasound) • retina • photoreceptors

© 2009, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc., all rights reserved. Permission to republish any abstract or part of an abstract in any form must be obtained in writing from the ARVO Office prior to publication.