Otitis media, a range of inflammatory conditions of the middle ear, is the second most common illness diagnosed in children. However, the diagnosis can be challenging, particularly in pediatric patients. Otitis media is commonly over-diagnosed and over-treated and has been identified as one of the primary factors in increased antibiotic resistance. We describe the development of a short-wave infrared (SWIR) otoscope for objective middle ear effusion diagnosis. The SWIR otoscope can unambiguously detect the presence of middle ear fluid based on its strong light absorption in the SWIR. This absorption causes a stark, visual contrast between the presence and absence of fluid behind the tympanic membrane. Additionally, when there is no middle ear fluid, the deeper tissue penetration of SWIR light allows the SWIR otoscope to better visualize middle ear anatomy through the tympanic membrane than is possible with visible light. We demonstrate that in healthy, adult human ears, SWIR otoscopy can image a range of middle ear anatomy, including landmarks of the entire ossicular chain, the promontory, the round window niche, and the chorda tympani. We suggest that SWIR otoscopy can provide valuable diagnostic information complementary to that provided by visible pneumotoscopy in the diagnosis of middle ear effusions, otitis media, and other maladies of the middle ear.
Jessica A. Carr, Tulio Valdez, Oliver Bruns, and Moungi Bawendi, "A short-wave infrared otoscope for middle ear disease diagnostics (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9689, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics XII, 96892F (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2209719.4828028245001.
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