Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly population, with a high demand for early diagnosis since the symptoms are irreversible. Current structural and functional imaging modalities include fundus autofluorescence, optical coherence tomography, and angiography, and are often not sufficient for early stage detection, which is mostly characterized by changes in tissue composition. A technology that enables the in-vivo imaging of the posterior ocular globe is essential for gaining insight into the natural mechanical anatomy of the eye, as well as the changes that take place with ocular diseases. However, in-vivo mechanical imaging of the retina remains a challenge and is currently not available. In this study, we report on the development of acoustic radiation force optical coherence elastography (ARF-OCE) to visualize and quantify the stiffness map of in-vivo retinal tissues based on the Voigt model. We demonstrate the elasticity mapping of an in-vivo rabbit retina, showing the stiffness variations across 5 different layers, ranging from 3 kPa to 16 kPa on the ganglion to the sclera sides. In addition, we introduce a diseased rabbit model based primarily on blue light exposure, and have found a difference in the layered stiffness where inflammation occurred. The results show that the ARF-OCE system has the capability to noninvasively detect tissue abnormalities in-vivo, and represents a significant step toward the development of the ARF-OCE system for clinical use.
Yueqiao Qu, Youmin He, Arya Saidi, Yihang Xin, Yongxiao Zhou, Jiang Zhu, Teng Ma, Ronald H. Silverman, Donald S. Minckler, Qifa Zhou, and Zhongping Chen, "In-vivo quantitative elasticity imaging of the posterior ocular globe with acoustic radiation force optical coherence elastography (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10496, Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics V, 1049609 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 27, 2018; Published: 15 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2285390.5752212584001.
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