Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study of living eye in real time now possible with optics technology

17.02.2003


UH Researchers Focus On Diagnosing Eye Disease Using Adaptive Optics



A new optics technology is providing scientists with real-time microscopic images of the living retina, and may allow doctors to focus in on earlier diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma.

University of Houston researchers are using a technology called adaptive optics to peer inside the eyes of human subjects and for the first time get clear, sharp images of features such as blood flow in the eye’s retina. Until now, clear images of the living retina were not possible because the eye’s own structure interferes with the imaging process.


“Everyone suffers from natural irregularities in the cornea and lens of the eye, and even in people with normal, 20/20 vision, these defects prevent the eye from focusing light from the world into a nice sharp image on the retina,” says Austin Roorda, assistant professor of optometry at the University of Houston. “Eye doctors have to look through these same defects when they examine a patient’s retina, and the image they see is not very clear, limiting the amount of information they can get.”

A clear view of the retina is key to the early diagnosis of diseases such as glaucoma, which produces changes in the nerves in the eye, and diabetes, which affects blood flow in the retina.

“The eye is a wonderful instrument, but its optics are not particularly good, and this has limited our ability to clearly see what’s happening in there,” Roorda says.

Using adaptive optics, researchers accurately measure the defects in the cornea and the lens and compensate for them to produce detailed microscopic images and video of human retinas. In his lab, Roorda and his colleagues have built a scanning laser ophthalmoscope, the only device of its kind that incorporates adaptive optics.

“We get a much clearer picture of the retina than any other technology can produce, with the added advantage that the data we get is in real time,” Roorda says.

Roorda’s scanning laser ophthalmoscope won’t be in clinics any time soon, but he says it’s a prototype for the next generation of such devices. He and colleagues at four other institutions, led by the University of Rochester, recently received a $10 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to build more adaptive optics devices.

Roorda will present information about his research Feb. 16 in Denver at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

During the past year, Roorda has examined normal eyes in about 30 people, and four people with medical conditions that affect the eyes. He and his UH team have seen capillaries – the smallest blood vessels in the retina – and the white blood cells flowing through them. Tracking the movement of white blood cells helps them measure the rate of blood flow, as well as monitor their specific behavior.

“Right now we’re focusing on understanding what normal eyes look like with this instrument. This is a whole new view of the retina, and we’re developing protocols for imaging patients,” Roorda says.

The UH researchers are working with a physician at the Texas Medical Center and plan to look at patients with diabetes, for example, to examine their blood flow dynamics. In diabetics, it is thought that white blood cells tend to be sticky and may move differently through the capillaries than they do in normal retinas. Roorda’s team also plans to look at glaucoma patients, whose retinal nerves have been changed by the disease, and people with changes or losses in their cone photoreceptors.

“We should be able to watch the progression of these types of diseases,” he says.

In the lab, Roorda’s test subject sits in front of the device, and his head is kept still by having the person bite down on a custom-fit mouthpiece mounted in place. The adaptive optics setup involves shining a weak laser into the subject’s dilated eye. The laser light reflects off the retina and is scattered back out of the eye, where it is picked up by a wavefront sensor. This component measures the defects in the lens and cornea and feeds that information back to a deformable mirror, which is the backbone of the device.

“The mirror is made of glass, which is flexible, and it is supported on its back surface by a grid of electronically controlled small pistons that ever-so-slightly change the mirror’s shape in such a way as to focus the scattered light into parallel rays. This, and a lot of sophisticated computer code, is what then produces the clear, corrected image,” Roorda says.

One of the future clinical applications of Roorda’s device might be microretinal surgery, where surgeons need a clear view of an area they would like to treat.

“The way we use our laser to scan the retina to produce an image, it may be possible to use the technique for treatment. While you’re imaging a microaneurysm, for example, if we could track that feature we may be able to then turn on a treatment laser and blast it with the same precision that we can see it,” he says.

Roorda earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Waterloo in Canada and began his work in adaptive optics as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Rochester. He joined the UH faculty in 1998. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as by the National Science Foundation through the Center for Adaptive Optics at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

SOURCE: Roorda, 713-743-1952; aroorda@uh.edu


About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 34,400 students.

Amanda Siegfried | University of Houston
Further information:
http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2003/022003/adaptiveopts021603.html
http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/sciencelist.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>