OCT devices hold promise

May 1, 2012

Improved imagery could help physicians learn more about diseases and treatment response

New optical coherence tomography (OCT) devices are in development with the goal of expanding the utility of OCT in the clinic by providing better resolution, faster speed, and software to help clinicians better understand the nuances of diseases and how they respond to therapy. Dr Jay S. Duker looked at the past, present and future of the technology during the Retina Subspeciality Day at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The first OCTs that became commercially available in 1996 were time-domain (TD) instruments. Those reached their pinnacle in 2002 when the Stratus OCT was introduced by Zeiss. That instrument, which had 10 μm axial resolution and obtained 400 axial scans per second, remained the state-of-the-art technology until recently.

Over the past decade, many new OCT instruments have become available that are all based on Fourier-domain detection. Spectral-domain (SD) OCT became commercially available in 2006 and swept-source OCT is being used in research but is not yet commercially available. SD-OCT is faster than TD-OCT and can obtain from 20000 to 52000 scans per second. It also has a broader band width that increases the axial resolution from 4 to 7 μm.