Enno Hachgenei sat down with MEDICA-tradefair.com and talked about imaging with OCT, described its applications in the medical field and explained how it can inspire the creation of new medical devices.
Mr. Hachgenei, what is Optical Coherence Tomography?
Enno Hachgenei: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an optical imaging technique that creates high-resolution cross-sectional images of biological samples and tissue. People often draw an analogy between OCT and ultrasound. Ultrasound measures and displays the transmission of short pulses of ultrasound energy into tissue and the reflection of signals. The OCT mechanism is similar, only OCT uses the reflection of light.
How does it work exactly?
Hachgenei: We direct near-infrared light into the tissue. The light is reflected at the boundary layers and tissue structures and back-scatters. This backscattered signal allows you to obtain a depth profile. OCT has millimeter depth of penetration, depending on the optical properties of the tissue and up to single-digit micrometer resolution.
The absorption of the used wavelength by the tissue and the scattering behavior are critical for the illustration. Generally, for tomographic imaging purposes, OCT can only be applied with tissue that’s transparent or semi-transparent for the wavelength used.
What are its applications in the medical field?
Hachgenei: OCT originates in ophthalmology. It is the perfect method in this setting since you can achieve deeper penetration via the eye's vitreous humor, making it a great way to capture details of the cornea and retina. OCT is mainly used for the early diagnosis of various eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.