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In-vivo imaging of inner retinal cellular morphology with adaptive optics - optical coherence tomography: challenges and possible solutions

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Recent progress in retinal image acquisition techniques, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO), combined with improved performance of adaptive optics (AO) instrumentation, has resulted in improvement in the quality of in vivo images of cellular structures in the outer layers of the human retina. Despite the significant progress in imaging cone and rod photoreceptor mosaics, visualization of cellular structures in the inner retina has been achieved only with extrinsic contrast agents that have not been approved for use with humans. In this paper we describe the main limiting factors in visualizing inner retinal cells and the methods we implemented to reduce their effects on images acquired with AO-OCT. These include improving the system point spread function (AO performance), monitoring of motion artifacts (retinal motion tracking), and speckle pattern reduction (temporal and spatial averaging). Results of imaging inner retinal morphology and the improvement offered by the new UC Davis AOOCT system with spatio-temporal image averaging are presented. © 2012 Copyright Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).

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