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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 May;238(5):385-92.

Resolution-improved dual-beam and standard optical coherence tomography: a comparison.

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Institute of Medical Physics, University of Vienna, Austria.



The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the improved axial resolution and longitudinal stability of dual-beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) in comparison to conventional OCT setups used in commercially available OCT instruments.


The conventional OCT technique is based on an interferometric setup that is rather sensitive to axial eye motions. We have developed a special dual-beam OCT technique which eliminates the influence of axial eye motions. This is achieved by using the anterior corneal surface as the reference surface for the interferometric ranging. To improve the signal quality, the different wavefront curvatures of beams reflected at cornea and retina are matched by a diffractive optical element. To improve the axial resolution, a broadband synthesized light source with an effective bandwidth of 50 nm is used, and the group dispersion of the ocular media is compensated. Tomographic images were recorded in the fovea and the optic nerve head of healthy volunteers. For comparison purposes, approximately the same locations in the same eyes were imaged by a commercially available OCT instrument.


Compared to the standard OCT technique, the dual-beam OCT images show considerably improved axial resolution. Especially in tomograms recorded at the fovea, dual-beam OCT resolves microstructural details that are not visible in the standard OCT images. Furthermore, the axial stability of dual-beam OCT enables the recording of exact geometrical contours of fundus layers.


Dual-beam OCT is able to provide structural information on the ocular fundus that is not obtained with standard OCT. The long recording times of our instrument limit the transverse resolution to 100-150 microm at present.

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