This research is aimed at characterizing in vivo differences between healthy and pathological retinal tissues at the
microscopic scale using a compact adaptive optics (AO) retinal camera.
Tests were performed in 120 healthy eyes and 180 eyes suffering from 19 different pathological conditions, including
age-related maculopathy (ARM), glaucoma and rare diseases such as inherited retinal dystrophies. Each patient was first
examined using SD-OCT and infrared SLO. Retinal areas of 4°x4° were imaged using an AO flood-illumination retinal
camera based on a large-stroke deformable mirror. Contrast was finally enhanced by registering and averaging rough
images using classical algorithms.
Cellular-resolution images could be obtained in most cases. In ARM, AO images revealed granular contents in drusen,
which were invisible in SLO or OCT images, and allowed the observation of the cone mosaic between drusen. In
glaucoma cases, visual field was correlated to changes in cone visibility. In inherited retinal dystrophies, AO helped to
evaluate cone loss across the retina. Other microstructures, slightly larger in size than cones, were also visible in several
AO provided potentially useful diagnostic and prognostic information in various diseases. In addition to cones, other
microscopic structures revealed by AO images may also be of interest in monitoring retinal diseases.