Photonics Dictionary

swept source optical coherence tomography

Swept-source optical coherence tomography is an imaging technique used in medical diagnostics, particularly in ophthalmology, to visualize and analyze the internal structures of biological tissues, especially the eye's retina.

Key aspects of SS-OCT are:

Optical coherence tomography (OCT): OCT is a non-invasive imaging technology that provides high-resolution, cross-sectional images of biological tissues. It uses low-coherence interferometry to measure the echo time delay and magnitude of backscattered light, creating detailed images of tissue microstructure.

Swept-source (SS): In SS-OCT, the key distinction is the use of a swept-source laser for illumination. A swept-source laser rapidly sweeps through a range of optical frequencies, and the interference between the reference and sample arms provides depth information about the tissue structure.

Depth range and imaging speed: SS-OCT often offers a longer depth range and faster imaging speeds compared to traditional time-domain OCT (TD-OCT). The swept-source laser's rapid tuning allows for efficient data acquisition, contributing to quicker imaging of three-dimensional structures.

Applications in ophthalmology: SS-OCT is widely used in ophthalmology, similar to SD-OCT. It enables detailed imaging of the retina, allowing for the visualization of retinal layers, assessment of macular thickness, and identification of pathological changes. SS-OCT is particularly valuable for conditions like macular diseases, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Choroidal imaging: One notable advantage of SS-OCT is its capability to penetrate deeper into the choroid, the vascular layer beneath the retina. This makes SS-OCT well-suited for imaging and analyzing structures in the choroid, providing insights into conditions affecting this region.

Improved imaging in challenging conditions: SS-OCT can be advantageous in imaging conditions where there are challenges related to imaging through media opacities, such as cataracts. The technology's ability to capture high-quality images in the presence of such opacities is beneficial for comprehensive ophthalmic examinations.

Overall, SS-OCT is a powerful tool in ophthalmic diagnostics, offering enhanced imaging capabilities, especially in scenarios where greater penetration depth and imaging speed are crucial. It has become an essential technology for ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and management of various eye diseases.

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