Surgical microscopes are vital tools for ophthalmic surgeons. The recent development of an integrated OCT system for the first time allows to look at tissue features below the surface. Hence, these systems can drastically improve the quality and reduce the risk of surgical interventions. However, current commercial OCT-enhanced ophthalmic surgical microscopes provide only one additional cross sectional view to the standard microscope image and feature a low update rate. To present volumetric data at a high update rate, much faster OCT systems than the ones applied in today’s surgical microscopes need to be developed. We demonstrate live volumetric retinal OCT imaging, which may provide a sufficiently large volume size (330x330x595 Voxel) and high update frequency (24.2 Hz) such that the surgeon may even purely rely on the OCT for certain surgical maneuvers. It represents a major technological step towards the possible application of OCT-only surgical microscopes in the future which would be much more compact thus enabling many additional minimal invasive applications. We show that multi-MHz A-scan rates are essential for such a device. Additionally, advanced phase-based OCT techniques require 3D OCT volumes to be detected with a stable optical phase. These techniques can provide additional functional information of the retina. Up to now, classical OCT was to slow for this, so our system can pave the way to holographic OCT with a traditional confocal flying spot approach. For the first time, we present point scanning volumetric OCT imaging of the posterior eye with up to 191.2 Hz volume rate. We show that this volume rate is high enough to enable a sufficiently stable optical phase to a level, where remaining phase errors can be corrected. Applying advanced post processing concepts for numerical refocusing or computational adaptive optics should be possible in future with such a system.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering