Laser Scanner Could Help Diagnose Disease Before Vision Loss Occurs

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A retinal imaging scanner has been developed that can produce high-resolution, 3D cross-sectional images of the retina, including individual photoreceptors and fine capillaries. The scanner is extremely compact (about the size of a shoebox), making it suitable for everyday use in medical clinics and hospitals. The new scanner could help ophthalmologists diagnose eye diseases before vision loss occurs. Currently, physicians use low-resolution scanners that can only assess and diagnose the cause of dead retina cells after a patient’s vision is impacted.

“It’s a breakthrough in clinical diagnostics,” said the scanner’s inventor, professor Marinko Sarunic from Simon Fraser University. “With the high-resolution scanner, ophthalmologists and optometrists can detect damage and changes to small numbers of individual photoreceptors, giving them a diagnosis before the patient loses vision and the potential to take preventative measures.”

High Resolution 3D Retinal Imaging Scanner, Simon Fraser University.

A compact, high-resolution retinal imaging scanner developed by a Simon Fraser University engineer could help with early detection of eye disease. Courtesy of Simon Fraser University.

The scanner was tested over a period of eight months by ophthalmologists at Vancouver General Hospital’s Eye Care Center.

Dr. Eduardo Navajas, a vitreoretinal specialist, said the scanner eliminates the need for, and complications related to, dye injections that are currently used to diagnose and monitor eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“Early detection of abnormal blood vessels caused by wet AMD and diabetes is essential to saving a patient's vision,” said Navajas. “Dr. Sarunic’s new imaging technology is benefiting patients, allowing us to diagnose and treat wet AMD and diabetic eye disease before patients develop bleeding and permanent damage to their retina.”

The retinal imaging scanning project. Courtesy of Simon Fraser University.

Published: December 2017
The branch of medicine involved in the study of the anatomy, functions, diseases and treatments of the eye.
Research & TechnologyeducationAmericasImagingLasersophthalmologyhigh resolution imagingretinal imaging scannereye diseaseBioScanBiophotonics

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