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Adaptive optics for eye care

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human eye aberrates wavefrontsSince the late 60’s, adaptive optics has played a major role in improving the imaging capabilities of the ground-based astronomical instruments that enable us to discover, explore and understand stellar phenomena. This amelioration comes from our ability to correct the imperfections, or aberrations, in light that are induced by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.   Like the atmosphere, the eye is a dynamic, imperfect system whose aberrations are due to multiple factors including imperfections in the cornea and crystalline lens as well as the distortions caused by the fluid that maintains they eye’s shape while allowing light to pass through.

The applications of adaptive optics for eye care are vast, and Imagine Eyes is poised to become one of the industry’s leading forces in this breakthrough domain.  As in other medical areas, where improvements in imaging technology resolution have led to better understanding of pathologies, and thus new treatments, Imagine Eyes strives to use adaptive optics to develop new medical devices that will expand physicians’ ability to diagnose and treat ocular pathologies.

Applying adaptive optics to the human eye was largely hindered by the fact that the correction technology lacked sufficient dynamic range to build an instrument capable of compensating for the large aberrations present in the human eye.  Recent advances in this domain, particularly with Imagine Eyes’ mirao™ 52-d, have paved the way for the development of new, commercially viable instrumentation dedicated to the manipulation and correction of optical aberrations of the eye.  Some of the applications of adaptive optics in this domain are explored below.  

Diagnosing retinal diseases

As we discussed in “Facts about diagnosing human eyes,” adaptive optics plays a key role in enabling doctors to examine retinal microstructures in their most finite detail.  Imagine Eyes' adaptive-optics technology can increase the spatial resolution of retinal imaging techniques like numeric angiography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) and optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Vessels, photoreceptor cells, nerve fibers and other microstructures of the living retina become visible to doctors by compensating in real time for the ocular aberrations that interfere with imaging.

This revolutionary new diagnostic aide will transform the way professionals understand, detect and treat major eye diseases including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, pigment retinitis and diabetic retinopathies. To learn more about Imagine Eyes' work in this field as the INOVEO project coordinator, click here.

Treating retinal diseases

In surgical retinal lasers, adaptive-optics technologies can reduce the laser focal point to the microscopic diameter of a cell. For the first time, doctors will be able to selectively expose and treat diseased cells without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.

Adaptive optics visual simulation

Imagine Eyes' crx1™ Adaptive Optics Visual Simulator offers practitioners the ability to simulate the possible visual outcome of optical or surgical corrections before any corrective action is taken, allowing the patient to experience in real-time the outcome of the proposed treatment. These simulations include progressive, multi-focal, accommodating and custom-wavefront designs.

The crx1 uses sophisticated software technology to unite the diagnostic precision of the irx3™ Wavefront Aberrometer with the wavefront correction abilities of the mirao™ 52-d Electromagnetic Deformable Mirror to simulate visual outcome on an organic LED display placed in the subject’s field of view.  The key features of the crx1 include:

  • measurement of ocular wavefronts using the irx3’s wide-ranging functionalities
  • ocular wavefront correction, i.e. the possibility for the patient to see a target without any optical aberrations
  • ocular wavefront generation, allowing subject’s to see the impact of custom designed corrections,  surgical ablation patterns, or even a simulation of someone else’s corrected or uncorrected vision
  • the possibility to project psychophysical tests on the patient’s retina, using the microdisplay, while controlling his optical aberrations

While continuing to allow for the subjective reading tests that ensure the ideal balance between subject comfort and visual acuity, the crx1 constantly monitors the objective performance of the corrected eye which provide certain advantages when compared to conventional phoropters including:

  • extended prescription ability to include presbyopic and custom-wavefront corrections
  • higher diagnostic precision and reliability
  • reduced chair time

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