Measurement of retinal physiology using functional Fourier domain OCT concepts
Fourier Domain OCT proved to be an outstanding tool for measuring 3D retinal structures with high sensitivity, resolution, and speed. We extended the FDOCT concept towards functional imaging by analyzing the spectroscopic tissue properties, polarization contrast and Doppler velocity imaging. Differential spectral contrast FDOCT allows optical staining of retinal tomograms and to contrast tissue of high pigmentation such as the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The latter shows strong correlation if compared to polarization sensitive OCT images. First implementations of Doppler FDOCT systems demonstrated the capability of measuring in-vivo retinal blood flow profiles and pulsatility. We developed a new concept of Doppler FDOCT that allows measuring also large flow velocities typically close to the optic nerve head. Studies of retinal perfusion based on Laser Doppler Flowmetry (LDF) demonstrated the high sensitivity of blood flow to external stimuli. We performed first experiments of studying retinal perfusion in response to flicker stimulation. An increase in vessel diameter by 11% and of flow velocity by 49% was measured. We believe that a multi- modal functional imaging concept is of high value for an accurate and early diagnosis and understanding of retinal pathologies and pathogenesis.