With an aging population comes an increase in a number of diseases and conditions of the eye. A recent advance in imaging – called optical coherence tomography (OCT) – provides a non-invasive way to create high resolution, cross-sectional images of inside the eye. OCT is particularly useful in providing these images of the retina, showing cross sectional images of the various layers with resolution equivalent to a low-power microscope and better than other imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
A new technological development called Fourier Domain (FD) OCT provides these images much more quickly than existing systems. It has also been successful in creating three-dimensional images of the retina, which were previously not possible to obtain. However, clinical use of FD OCT is limited as it generates only an image of the eye’s structures, without providing any functional information about the biological processes at play.
Dr. Marinko Sarunic’s research builds on earlier work where he successfully combined FD OCT imaging with molecular contrast capabilities to provide functional information. He is now using this technology to determine its usefulness in retinal diagnostics, the study of disease processes, and the testing of new drugs and therapies. Development of FD OCT imaging techniques will help physicians better understand and manage ophthalmic conditions, through high resolution visualization and improved minimally-invasive, image-guided procedures.