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3-D snapshots of eyes reveal details of age-related blindness
Date:3/19/2009

WASHINGTON, March 19 To get a better look at the abnormalities that cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in Americans and Europeans over 50, the research groups of James Fujimoto at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and collaborators Jay Duker of the Tufts University School of Medicine, and Joel Schuman of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have created ultra-detailed 3-D images of the eyes of more than 2,000 people from different ethnic groups, 400 of whom have AMD. Selected electronic data, published in the special Interactive Science Publishing (ISP) issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal, may pave the way for new diagnostic software useful for developing new treatments.

AMD is a condition in which the macula -- the region of highest visual acuity in the retina -- stops functioning properly. AMD causes blurred vision and, in advanced cases, a large blind spot in the center of one's vision.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has become a standard tool for assessing AMD and other eye diseases. An OCT instrument shoots beams of infrared light into the retina, where they are reflected to greater or lesser extent by different structures within the eye. By measuring the echo time delays of reflected light, an ophthalmologist can have a cross-sectional or three-dimensional view of the retina's layers. This high-resolution, three-dimensional image reveals abnormalities that can be used to track disease progression and response to treatment.

Fujimoto's team uses an OCT machine with a resolution two times higher than commercial OCTs. In this study, they imaged the retinas of 400 people suffering from different stages of macular degeneration. Their profiles range from a 54-year-old man with mild AMD and 20/20 vision, to a 77-year-old woman with advanced AMD who can just barely count fingers from a distance of four feet. Each person's
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Contact: Colleen Morrison
cmorri@osa.org
202-416-1437
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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