Retinal lesion formation during photocoagulation investigated by high-speed 1060 nm Doppler-OCT: first clinical results

Gereon Huttmann, Moritz Moltmann, Hendrik Spahr, Anna de Roeck, Dirk Theisen-Kunde, Ralf Brinkmann, Jan Tode, Reginald Birngruber, Stefan Koinzer


Abstract Purpose : The molecular processes during heating with a photocoagulation laser, particularly in sub-visible or mere thermal stimulation treatment, have only partly been understood, and different theories exist that try to explain its clinical efficacy. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was successfully used to grade lesions with high accuracy 1 hour after the treatments and beyond. During the irradiation, changes in tissue scattering and, by use of the Doppler signal, tissue motion caused by thermal expansion and coagulation-induced tissue contraction were shown to correlate ex-vivo and in rabbits with the strength of photocoagulation lesions. Aim of this study was to validate feasibility and reproducibility of these results in humans. Methods : In an ongoing study more than 100 lesions of three patients have been imaged with a slitlamp-based OCT (1060 nm, 90,000 A-scans/s) with varying irradiance during laser exposure. Durations of the exposure were 50 ms and 200 ms; spot size was 300 µm. Eye movements and heart beat were corrected by cross-correlation of the images. Increased tissue scattering and movement of the neuronal retina due to thermal expansion were determined from the image sequences with 3 ms temporal resolution. Results : In the first treatments with this prototype device, we received acceptable image quality in 1/3 of the lesions. Changes in the neuronal retina were successful visualized during and after the laser irradiation, demonstrating the feasibility of a real-time assessment of initial effects of photocoagulation in humans. Lesion visibility in standard, reflection-based OCT was much weaker during treatment compared to 1 hour afterwards. Increased tissue scattering was observed in stronger lesions already during the laser irradiation. At reduced irradiance, scattering increase was only observed after the end of irradiation. However, tissue motion towards the vitreous was still observed in these cases. Conclusions : In conclusion, high-speed OCT recording during photocoagulation measures initial tissue changes during photocoagulation in humans. It may enhance our understanding of the tissue dynamics right after laser irradiation. It may provide useful information for a real-time dosage control as well. This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)5852-5852
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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