Cone photoreceptors in the living human eye have recently been imaged with micron-scale resolution in all three spatial dimensions using adaptive optics optical coherence tomography. While these advances have allowed non-invasive study of the three-dimensional structure of living human cones, studies of their function and physiology are still hampered by the difficulties to monitor the same cells over time. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of cone monitoring using ultrahigh-resolution adaptive optics optical coherence tomography. Critical to this is incorporation of a high speed CMOS camera (125 KHz) and a novel feature-based, image registration/dewarping algorithm for reducing the deleterious effects of eye motion on volume images. Volume movies were acquired on three healthy subjects at retinal eccentricities from 0.5° to 6°. Image registration/dewarping reduced motion artifacts in the movies from 15 μm to 1.3 μm root mean square, the latter sufficient for identifying and tracking cones. Cone row-to-row spacing and outer segment lengths were consistent with that reported in the literature. Cone length analysis demonstrates that UHR-AO-OCT is sufficiently sensitive to measure real length differences between cones in the same 0.5° retinal patch and requires no more than five measurements of OS length to achieve 95% confidence. We know of no other imaging modality that can monitor foveal or parafoveal cones over time with comparable resolution in all three dimensions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics