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May 2003

Enhanced Visualization of Macular Pathology With the Use of Ultrahigh-Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medical Physics, University of Vienna, Christian Doppler Laboratory, Vienna, Austria (Drs Drexler and Fercher, Messrs Sattmann and Hermann, and Ms Unterhuber); Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MrKo and Dr Fujimoto); and Department of Ophthalmology, General Hospital of Vienna, University of Vienna (Drs Stur, Scholda, Findl, and Wirtitsch). Drs Drexler and Fujimoto act as consultants to Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc, Dublin, Calif, and Jena, Germany. The other authors have no financial interest in this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(5):695-706. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.5.695

Objectives  To demonstrate a new generation of ophthalmic optical coherence tomography(OCT) technology with unprecedented axial resolution for enhanced imaging of intraretinal microstructures and to investigate its clinical feasibility to visualize intraretinal morphology of macular pathology.

Methods  A clinically viable ultrahigh-resolution ophthalmic OCT system was developed and used in clinical imaging for the first time. Fifty-six eyes of 40 selected patients with different macular diseases including macular hole, macular edema, age-related macular degeneration, central serous chorioretinopathy, epiretinal membranes, and detachment of pigment epithelium and sensory retina were included.

Outcome Measures  Ultrahigh-resolution tomograms visualizing intraretinal morphologic features in different retinal diseases.

Results  An axial image resolution of approximately 3 µm was achieved in the eyes examined, nearly 2 orders of magnitude better than conventional ophthalmic ultrasound. Ultrahigh-resolution OCT images provided additional diagnostically important information on intraretinal morphologic features that could not have been obtained by standard techniques.

Conclusions  Ultrahigh-resolution ophthalmic OCT enables unprecedented visualization of intraretinal morphologic features and therefore has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of ocular pathogenesis, as well as to enhance the sensitivity and specificity for early ophthalmic diagnosis and to monitor the efficacy of therapy. This study establishes a baseline for the interpretation of ultrahigh-resolution ophthalmic OCT imaging of macular diseases.

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