The big picture: 5 ways retinal imaging is progressing


From AI tools and early diagnoses to advancing image rendering and predicting overall health, retinal imaging is reaching new heights.

Image credit: AdobeStock/Med Photo Studio

(Image credit: AdobeStock/Med Photo Studio)

They say a picture is worth a thousand works, and that is especially true for images of the retina. As technology has developed, retinal imaging has given ophthalmologists the power to catch vision damaging conditions earlier. In turn, this provides them the opportunities for early intervention treatments and potentially preserve vision for longer.

With the adoption of AI tools and the continued improvement of optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology, the retinal images that can be created are more powerful than ever. As we mark the halfway point of 2024, Modern Retina is taking a look at the news in imaging we’ve already seen this year.

1. Self-serve retinal imaging

In January, a kiosk model equipped with retinal imaging technology received 501K clearance from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). According to the Pursuant Health’s press release on this device, the kiosk provides a guided interface to walk users through the process of capturing their retinal image. From there, licensed eye specialists can remotely access the images for analysis.1

2. Using the retina for whole body prevention

As January ended, researcher from Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, Broad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University found that OCT imaging of the retina can help predict individuals’ risk of developing diseases, not only ocular conditions, but also heart, lung, metabolic, and neuropsychiatric illnesses. This research shows the value of regular eye exams with retinal imaging as well as the potential for early intervention and monitoring of conditions.2

3. Portable fundus cameras empower on-call residents

On call residents at the Colorado University Department of Ophthalmology added portable cameras to their kits, bringing a reliable and valuable tool to their ability to care for patients. In discussing this decision, the university noted that the cameras have boosted the first evaluation of patients and facilitated follow-up care. Supervising physicians can also more easily see what the residents are seeing. Residents also discuss the images to weekly conferences to discuss the cases in academic settings.3

4. Using swept-source anterior segment OCT imaging for uveitis

At the 2024 ARVO meeting in Seattle, Washington, Edmund Tsui, MD, spoke with the Eye Care Network team about a study looking at 67 eyes with varying grades of inflammation based on the standardization of uveitis nomenclature scale. The study used swept-source OCT imaging to look at the anterior chamber of the eyes and a customized algorithm to identify the amount of cells in each patient. The goal of this work it to use this technology to create a high-resolution, reproducible, objective, and quantifiable method to measure anterior chamber inflammation.4

5. Imaging for patterns and early diagnosis

At the Retina World Congress meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Paulo-Eduardo Stanga, MD, spoke with Modern Retina to discuss his presentation, “New technologies for navigated peripheral OCT of the vitreoretinal interface and retina.” In this conversation, Stanga shared how using ultra widefield imaging is empowering researchers and those diagnosing patients to evaluate the different patterns in the retina and find correlations. These correlations are leading to more accurate, early diagnoses.5

1. S. Crago. Pursuant Health received 510(k) clearance from FDA for kiosk offering self-service retinal imaging. Modern Retina. January 16, 2024. Accessed June 27, 2024.
2. L. Charters. OCT predicts eye, heart, lung, metabolic, neuropsychiatric diseases. Modern Retina. Published January 30, 2024. Accessed June 27, 2024.
3. D. Hutton. CU Ophthalmology residents employ portable fundus photography cameras to enhance on-call imaging. Modern Retina. Published March 4, 2024. Accessed June 27, 2024.
4. ARVO 2024: Analysis of anterior chamber inflammation through automated quantitative assessment of swept-source anterior segment OCT images. Modern Retina. Published May 20, 2024. Accessed June 27, 2024.
5. RWC 2024: New technologies for navigated peripheral OCT of the vitreoretinal interface and retina. Modern Retina. Published May 12, 2024. Accessed June 27, 2024.
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