Portable, High-Speed Optical Device Scans for Eye Disease

MIT researchers have developed an optical device that scans a patient's entire retina in seconds, which could aid primary care physicians in the early detection of a host of retinal diseases. Although similar hand-held devices exist, this design is the first to combine technologies such as ultrahigh-speed 3D imaging, a tiny micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) mirror for scanning, and a technique to correct for unintentional movement by the patient. The instrument uses optical coherence tomography (OCT), which sends beams of infrared light into the eye and onto the retina. Echoes of this light return to the instrument, which uses interferometry to measures changes in the time delay and magnitude of the returning light echoes, revealing the cross sectional tissue structure of the retina. This video clip demonstrates a fly-through of 3D OCT volumetric data showing sequential cross sections of the normal retina.