Intraocular tumors are life-threatening conditions. Long-term mortality from uveal melanoma, which accounts for 80% of primary intraocular tumors, could be as high as 25% depending on the size, ciliary body involvement and extraocular extension. The treatments of intraocular tumors include eye-sparing approaches such as radiotherapy and thermotherapy, and the more aggressive enucleation. The accurate diagnosis of intraocular tumors is thereby critical in the management and follow-up of the patients. The diagnosis of intraocular tumors is usually based on clinical examination with acoustic backscattering based ultrasonography. By analyzing the high frequency fluctuations within the ultrasound (US) signals, microarchitecture information inside the tumor can be characterized. However, US cannot interrogate the histochemical components formulating the microarchitecture. One representative example is the inability of US imaging (and other contemporary imaging modalities as well) in differentiating nevoid and melanoma cells as the two types of cells possesses similar acoustic backscattering properties. Combining optical and US imaging, photoacoustic (PA) measurements encode both the microarchitecture and histochemical component information in biological tissue. This study attempts to characterize ocular tumors by analyzing the high frequency signal components in the multispectral PA images. Ex vivo human eye globes with melanoma and retinoblastoma tumors were scanned using less than 6 mJ per square centimeters laser energy with tunable range of 600-1700 nm. A PA-US parallel imaging system with US probes CL15-7 and L22-14 were used to acquire the high frequency PA signals in real time. Preliminary results show that the proposed method can identify uveal melanoma against retinoblastoma tumors.
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