The technology, developed in part by Duke biomedical engineers, uses spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) to create a 3-D picture of the back of the eye. "This new tool is changing the way we identify eye conditions in infants," says Cynthia Toth, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Duke Eye Center, who is leading the study that appears online this month in the journal Ophthalmology.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in children, affecting about 16,000 babies each year, according to the National Eye Institute. It occurs when babies are born prematurely and their retinal blood vessels don't develop fully. Instead, the vessels grow abnormally and are prone to leaking and contracting. That can pull the retina out of position, causing retinal detachments that can lead to visual loss and blindness.
Current screening for ROP is based on two-dimensional images taken either with an ophthalmoscope or a camera placed directly on the infant's cornea. "Examining the retina with these methods is like looking at the surface of the ocean and only seeing dimly into the shallow water," says Toth, a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering. "You cannot see what lies below."
SD OCT, on the other hand, uses a narrow beam of light to create a 3-D high-resolution map of the intricate detail in the retina's layers. "This is like looking into an aquarium from the side, where all the fish at every depth are visible," Toth says.
Ophthalmologists at Duke Eye Center pioneered and have been using OCT to accurately diagnose adult eyes for more than a decade, and in the past two years, Toth has been studying the application of this technology for retinal diseases in children.
"SD OCT reveals the retina in greater detail than was ever before realized, allowing us to observe disease at almost the cellular level" she says.
New advances in OCT led Joseph Izatt, a professor of biomedical engineering and ophthalmology at Duke, to create the handheld probe which can snap pictures over 40 times faster than previous versions of OCT. That means multiple scans of the eye now take only seconds. It also means the portable handheld SD OCT system can be taken directly to premature infants in the incubator.
The device is manufactured by Bioptigen, Inc., a Duke spinout company in Research Triangle Park. Izatt is the chairman and chief technology officer of the firm.
"Now, for the first time, we can take the SD OCT system into the neonatal intensive care unit and hold it over the infant's eye without touching the eye and image the retina while the infant is lying in the bed," she says. "We don't have to transport the infants out of the intensive care unit, which makes the whole process much more comfortable for them and their parents."
Toth's next step is to determine what role the system could play in treatment decisions.
"Right now we're analyzing data on more than 20 infants to identify how the SC OCT images of RoP relate to the usual examination and to decisions we make about treatment. What we hope to learn is whether what we see in the infant's eyes today will help us to predict how their disease and vision will be in the future."
Toth says this imaging technology could also have practical applications for improving the diagnosis and treatment of babies suspected of having a wide range of retinal diseases including albinism and retinal injury.
This research was supported by Angelica and Euan Baird, The Hartwell Foundation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the National Institutes of Health.
Debbe Geiger | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Information Technology
22.06.2017 | Medical Engineering