Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has gained increasing interest as a medical imaging method. Although only 30 companies were making OCT systems in 2012, at present, that number has increased to over 100. Transparency Market Research has reported that the key factors for the growth of this market are the increase in the prevalence of different disorders and a rise in the awareness and acceptance of the probabilities of optical imaging technologies.
Applications of OCT
Diseases such as hypertension and diabetes have become more prevalent in patients due to an aging population and a change in lifestyle where people are more sedentary. OCT enables early detection of problems by medical professionals as it involves non-invasive imaging that offers high-definition, cross-sectional images, without causing any harm to living tissue or objects.
OCT has previously been effectively applied for ophthalmologic eye care and disease diagnosis, where it is used to acquire sub-surface images and investigate tissue within the body.
It involves directing an optical beam at a tissue sample, collecting the small fraction of light reflected from the tissue, and transforming it into a clear 3D image of the tissue. Through interferometry, any scattered light that would usually produce background noise and blur the image is eliminated. Subsequently, light that is directly reflected from the surface of interest is collected, where any background noise is eliminated after being processed.
Further Advancements to OCT
At present, OCT has been developed further by enabling functional imaging and wide 3D images. The standard camera for market leaders of healthcare in Europe and Japan was developed in collaboration with doctors and other professionals from the medical industry. This innovative technology has benefited both doctors and medical professionals by reducing the examination times for patients, thereby allowing them to make more timely decisions. This has been achieved with the help of the new generation of line scan cameras based on an innovative CMOS sensor pixel architecture — its maximum frequency is nearly four times higher compared to the CCD technology.
These types of cameras find various applications in medical and other industries. For instance, they can be used in the diagnosis of retinal disease for the detection of diseases such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. In the case of age-related macular degeneration, these cameras are specifically useful as they enable doctors to detect the disease at a very early stage. They can also be applied during cornea surgery to assist in ensuring pinpoint accuracy. These cameras can be used during endoscopies for laser surgery monitoring and also in dermatology for the diagnosis of early signs of skin cancer.
Figure 1. OctoPlus provides users with accurate images, for example, of the retina and cornea; mapping tissue structures, measuring thickness, and visualizing blood flow dynamics for diagnostics.
Teledyne e2v OctoPlus Spectral Domain OCT Cameras
From the early 2000s, Teledyne e2v has been spearheading the application of this method in its range of line scan cameras. Close collaboration with medical professionals has enabled the new OctoPlus Spectral Domain OCT cameras from the company to utilize CMOS technology to accelerate image acquisition and to enhance image quality at the same time. One of the key advantages of OctoPlus is that it is particularly tuned to offer users with extremely accurate images, for instance, of the retina and cornea by mapping tissue structures, measuring thickness, and visualizing blood flow dynamics for diagnostic purposes. Additional advantages include enhanced stability of OCT equipment, minimized generation of heat, and increased maintenance intervals.
Figure 2. OctoPlus Spectral-Domain OCT cameras harness CMOS technology to speed up image acquisition, while improving image quality.
This suggests that in ophthalmologic applications, for example, these innovative line scan cameras can increase the eye surface captured in a single scan by over two times without affecting resolution, thereby enhancing confidence in the diagnosis protocol. The existing SD-OCT equipment could take advantage of an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). This can assist clinicians in making improved treatment decisions and facilitate earlier detection of peripheral pathologies such as diabetic retinopathy.
Future and Emerging Applications
In the future, OCT can be used for emerging applications, for instance, the investigation of brain tissue, where it could be possible to detect the early signs of common diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Another field underscored as a prospective application in the near future is the characterization of hemoglobin, which is crucial for the diagnosis of diseases such as sickle cell anemia. Teledyne e2v intends to continue its support to its global customers by offering standard and custom solutions, thereby supporting the industry with more applications emerging every day.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Teledyne E2V.
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