Handheld MEMS-based OCT retinal scanner catches all info in one measurement

Power-grip-style (A-B) and camcorder-style designs (C-D) of a prototype OCT scanner are shown; both devices acquire 3D OCT images of the retina. (Credit: Biomedical Optics Express)

Cambridge, MA--Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with others at the University of Erlangen (Erlangen, Germany), Thorlabs (Newton, NJ), Praevium Research (Santa Barbara, CA), and Tufts University (Boston, MA), have created a handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) imager that scans a patient’s entire retina in seconds.1 The instrument, described in a paper published in the Optical Society's (OSA's) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express, could aid primary-care physicians in the early detection of a host of retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Based on a 1060-nm-emitting vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) source from Praevium, the OCT instrument has a 350 kHz axial scan rate and produces a 10 µm axial resolution with a 3.08 mm axial imaging range; lateral range is either 6 x 6 mm or 10 x 10 mm. Scan time to capture a motion-corrected image is 1.4 s.

A high-definition OCT image of the retina allows clinicians to noninvasively visualize the 3D structure of key regions, such as the macula (region near the fovea) and optic-nerve head, to screen for signs of disease pathology. Shown here is a widefield view (A) as well as detailed vertical cross sections (B), (C), and (D), and a circular cross-section (E). Credit: (Biomedical Optics Express)

Although other research groups and companies have created handheld OCT devices using similar technology, the new design is the first to combine ultrahigh-speed 3-D imaging, a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirror for scanning, and a technique to correct for unintentional movement by the patient. These innovations, the authors say, should allow clinicians to collect comprehensive data with just one measurement.

To deal with the motion instability of a handheld device, the instrument takes multiple 3D images at high speeds, scanning a particular volume of the eye many times but with different scanning directions. By using multiple 3D images of the same part of the retina, it is possible to correct for distortions due to motion of the operator’s hand or the subject’s own eye.

They tested two designs, one of which is similar to a handheld video camera with a flat-screen display. In their tests, the researchers found that their device can acquire images comparable in quality to conventional table-top OCT instruments used by ophthalmologists. The next step is to evaluate the technology in a clinical setting, says researcher James Fujimoto of MIT, an author of the paper. But the device is still relatively expensive, he adds, and before this technology finds its way into doctors' offices or in the field, manufacturers will have to find a way to support or lower its cost.


1. Chen D. Lu et al., Biomedical Optics Express (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/BOE.5.000293




Most Popular Articles


Durable survivors evolve new forms


Laser Measurements Critical to Successful Additive Manufacturing Processes

Maximizing the stability of the variables going into any manufacturing process is what ensures ts consistency and high quality. Specifically, when a laser is...

Ray Optics Simulations with COMSOL Multiphysics

The Ray Optics Module can be used to simulate electromagnetic wave propagation when the wavelength is much smaller than the smallest geometric entity in the ...

Multichannel Spectroscopy: Technology and Applications

This webcast, sponsored by Hamamatsu, highlights some of the photonic technology used in spectroscopy, and the resulting applications.

Handheld Spectrometers

Spectroscopy is a powerful and versatile tool that traditionally often required a large and bulky instrument. The combination of compact optics and modern pa...
White Papers

Wavelength stabilized multi-kW diode laser systems

Wavelength stabilization of high-power diode laser systems is an important means to increase the ...

Narrow-line fiber-coupled modules for DPAL pumping

A new series of fiber coupled diode laser modules optimized for DPAL pumping is presented, featur...

Accurate LED Source Modeling Using TracePro

Modern optical modeling programs allow product design engineers to create, analyze, and optimize ...
Technical Digests

ADHESIVES, SEALANTS, AND COATINGS: Solutions for optical technologies

A vast array of optical systems of various types and degrees of complexity require the use of adh...

WAVELENGTH-SWEPT LASERS: Dispersion-tuned fiber laser sweeps over a 140 nm range for OCT

By eliminating the use of mechanical tunable filters and instead tuning by intensity-modulation i...

Keeping pace with developments in photonic materials research

For demanding or custom spectroscopy solutions, care must be taken in selecting and integrating a...

HIGH-POWER FIBER LASERS: Working in the kilowatt regime

High-power materials-processing fiber lasers are available in an increasing variety of forms, as ...

Click here to have your products listed in the Laser Focus World Buyers Guide.
Social Activity
Copyright © 2007-2014. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS