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    AO imaging offers novel data for understanding retinal disease

    Dr. ChungAdaptive optics (AO) is providing new insights about retinal structure and may help to identify potential areas for treatment of retinal diseases, said Mina Chung, MD. 

    “AO is a noninvasive imaging modality that uses a deformable mirror to compensate for and correct aberrations,” said Dr. Chung, associate professor of ophthalmology, Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. “It allows visualization of individual photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, and retinal vasculature at 2-µm resolution.”

    Dr. Chung added that AO can be combined with existing imaging modalities. It may be used to document and quantify changes early in disease where they are not discoverable or measurable using other modalities.

    Image 1: Here is a montaged AOSLO image of retinal photoreceptors superimposed on a fundus photograph of a "normal" retina, as an example of the type of view and information clinicians can retrieve with adaptive optics. Courtesy of Mina Chung, MD.

    AO also can be combined with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) to provide real-time video with optical sectioning capability. It can be coupled with fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography (OCT).

    Although the area that can be imaged at one time with AO is limited, the window can be stitched together to generate a montage that contains a tremendous amount of data for an individual, Dr. Chung pointed out.

    Cell count and density

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