Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant to develop functional testing of retinal circuitry with cellular-level resolution, a capability that can provide an unbiased evaluation of vision and enable early detection of retinal diseases and monitoring the response to treatment.
PSI proposes to enable objective characterization of the photoreceptor response to light and thus quantification of differences between normal and diseased eyes. This will be accomplished by adding controlled light stimulus capabilities to an existing high-resolution retinal imaging platform and validating it on a group of volunteers. We aim todemonstrate the ability to induce and measure vessel diameter changes and to induce and measure reflectivity, transmission, and length changes in cone photoreceptors with the purpose of developing robust biomarkers for diabetic retinopathy (DR).
PSI has been developing and offering multiple types of commercial high-resolution retinal imagers for more than fifteen years and is well known as one of the leaders in the field. Based on this experience, PSI will develop and implement light flicker stimulus capabilities in our multichannel adaptive optics retinal imaging (MAORI-X5) platform to objectively test retinal function.MAORI-X5 combines AO-assisted optical coherence tomography (OCT) and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) in one instrument and provides in vivo cellular-level resolution imaging of retinal microstuctures. There is no commercially available SLO or OCT system with light flicker capabilities. We will fill this gap and enhance the capabilities of our retinal imaging platform by implementing two types of light flicker: local, cone-level illumination for testing the health and function of photoreceptors, and large area illumination for testing neurovascular coupling. Both types of measurements will reveal the effects of light stimulation with cellular-level resolution. Adding stimulus capabilities to MAORI-X5 enables investigations ofneurovascular coupling and functional assessment of retinal photoreceptors on a commercially available platform. We will validate the ability of the technique to measure cellular level effects as a proof-of-principle demonstration on a limited cohort of ten volunteers.
The successful completion of this development will provide clinicians with a high-performance retinal imaging platform for functional imaging. Early adaptors of this technology within the research community will grow our understanding of vision and its disruption by DR, and will enable the investigation of the effects of new drugs and therapies. PSI, the only company worldwide offering commercially AO-SLO-OCT instruments, will develop the next generation of retinal imaging research instruments as a reliable tool to quantify clinically the effects of DR on vision.
For more information contact:
Mr. William J. Kessler
Vice President, Applied Optics
Physical Sciences Inc.
Office: (978) 689-0003
Acknowledgement of Sponsorship: This work is supported under the National Institutes of Health / National Eye Institute. This support does not constitute an express or implied endorsement on the part of the Government.