A NEW WAY OF IMAGING
One of the most exciting new projects in vision research at UW–Madison is a groundbreaking group collaboration among the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS), McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI), and other UW and national partners. The Wisconsin Advanced Imaging of Visual Systems (WAIVS) Lab, founded in 2018, promises to establish and advance exciting new eye imaging techniques at UW–Madison.
Page through any science magazine, and you’ll be amazed at the image quality that is attainable by today’s equipment—whether of distant galaxies or within the human body. Imaging techniques developed in recent decades and used to image the eye and retina, such as Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), have advanced both patient care and basic research immensely.
What can we see with adaptive optics?
OCT, as shown in images A-C, has become an invaluable tool for clinical imaging of healthy or diseased retina and provides 3D volumetric images that can then be inspected from different angles. At top, panels B and C are cross sections corresponding to the dashed lines in panel A.
Despite the clear value of OCT imaging, resolution of OCT remains limited due to imperfections in the lens, cornea, and tear film of the subject. AO solves this limitation, providing “fine focus” with cellular resolution as shown in panel D that corresponds to the tiny square in panel A.
Even with this resolution, cells can be difficult to visualize using standard confocal contrast. State-of-the-art AOSLO systems such as the one under development at UW–Madison include additional split-detector capabilities as shown in panel E to improve contrast and visualization of photoreceptors. In this image, it is possible to see the abnormal morphology of most photoreceptor cells.