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Eye (Lond). 2011 Mar;25(3):321-30. doi: 10.1038/eye.2011.1.

Adaptive optics and the eye (super resolution OCT).

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School of Optometry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


The combination of adaptive optics (AO) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) was first reported 8 years ago and has undergone tremendous technological advances since then. The technical benefits of adding AO to OCT (increased lateral resolution, smaller speckle, and enhanced sensitivity) increase the imaging capability of OCT in ways that make it well suited for three-dimensional (3D) cellular imaging in the retina. Today, AO-OCT systems provide ultrahigh 3D resolution (3 × 3 × 3 μm³) and ultrahigh speed (up to an order of magnitude faster than commercial OCT). AO-OCT systems have been used to capture volume images of retinal structures, previously only visible with histology, and are being used for studying clinical conditions. Here, we present representative examples of cellular structures that can be visualized with AO-OCT. We overview three studies from our laboratory that used ultrahigh-resolution AO-OCT to measure the cross-sectional profiles of individual bundles in the retinal nerve fiber layer; the diameters of foveal capillaries that define the terminal rim of the foveal avascular zone; and the spacing and length of individual cone photoreceptor outer segments as close as 0.5° from the fovea center.

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