A new device for early diagnosis of degenerative eye diseases

Summary: Researchers have developed a new ophthalmic device that may detect degenerative imaginative and prescient issues corresponding to age-related macular degeneration earlier than the primary signs seem.

A supply: EPFL

EPFL researchers have developed an ophthalmic device that can be utilized to diagnose sure degenerative eye diseases earlier than the primary signs seem. In early scientific trials, the prototype was proven to supply photos with ample accuracy inside 5 seconds.

Research into remedies to cease or restrict degenerative eye diseases that may result in blindness is ongoing. However, at current, there is no such thing as a device that reliably diagnoses these situations earlier than the primary signs seem.

These problems, the perfect identified of which is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), contain modifications within the photoreceptors of the eye. And all of them have one root trigger: deterioration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the layer of cells that sits behind the photoreceptors.

The device, developed at EPFL’s Laboratory of Applied Photonic Devices (LAPD), detects modifications within the RPE earlier than the onset of signs, giving researchers the primary in vivo photos from which cells could be differentiated. Armed with this early detection functionality, clinicians can detect these diseases earlier than irreversible signs develop.

The outcomes of the primary scientific trial had been revealed in a journal paper Science of Ophthalmology.

Observe modifications within the cells behind the photoreceptors

In addition to inflicting AMD, deterioration of the RPE is behind a quantity of different eye diseases, together with retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy.

Located between the photoreceptors and the choroid (the skinny layer that comprises the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina), the RPE performs an essential function in sustaining visible perform and the well being of the rods and cones of the eye.

Several analysis teams have studied these cells underneath the microscope – in vitro – to find out their properties and observe the morphological modifications that happen with growing old, in addition to the onset and development of retinal problems corresponding to AMD and retinitis pigmentosa.

However, till now, there was no easy and dependable methodology to watch RPE in a residing affected person for early detection and steady monitoring of these situations.

Deer gentle rays maintain the important thing

Various makes an attempt have been made to develop a device that enables clinicians to check RPE. However, every failed as a consequence of inadequate decision, affected person security, or excessively lengthy exposures.

The EPFL crew developed a retinal digicam that comprises two indirect beams educated on the white of the eye, and along with an adaptive optical system that corrects distortions in gentle waves, creates a transparent picture.

Called Transscleral Optical Imaging, this expertise is much like retinal imaging programs that use infrared gentle.

However, in line with Christoph Moser, chief of the LAPD School of Engineering, it has one key distinction: “The rays are centered obliquely by the white of the eye, which bypasses the issue of extra gentle brought on by the extremely reflective cone photoreceptor cells, situated within the middle of the eye, while you shine gentle by the pupil onto the retina.

Armed with this early detection functionality, clinicians can detect these diseases earlier than irreversible signs develop. Image is within the public area

The gentle waves are then captured by a digicam as they exit by the pupil. The crew skilled a eureka second after they noticed the primary clear picture on the display screen, because it was the primary time that they had noticed this half of the human physique utilizing a clinically suitable imaging digicam.

First scientific trial with 29 members

The researchers developed a scientific prototype in partnership with EarlySight, a spin-off from the identical EPFL laboratory. With an publicity time of lower than 5 seconds—a serious velocity benefit for diagnostic use—the digicam is succesful of capturing 100 uncooked photos. Algorithms then align and mix the uncooked frames to supply a single, high-quality picture on the display screen.

The interface contains 5 buttons, every of which corresponds to a predefined space of ​​the eye, which lets you choose the specified picture. Users also can click on wherever on the chart behind the eye to pick out the precise space they wish to picture.

The prototype of the device, referred to as Cellularis, was developed as half of the European Union’s EIT Health ASSESS undertaking, in partnership with Francine Behar-Cohen’s analysis crew on the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris, and along with scientific trials. Center of the Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital in Lausanne.

The digicam was then evaluated in a scientific trial—led by Dr. Irmela Mantel of the Medical Retina Unit on the Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital—designed to evaluate the device’s skill to supply correct RPE photos in 29 wholesome volunteers. In every case, the pictures generated by the digicam had been correct sufficient to establish the morphological traits of the members’ RPE cells. They are saved in a database to contribute to future medical analysis.

“The morphology of these cells, which play an essential function within the perform of the retina, is a powerful indicator of their well being,” says Laura Kovalchuk, a scientist at EPFL and the Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital and lead writer of the journal.

See additionally

This shows the outline of the head

“The skill to exactly establish RPE cells and observe the morphological modifications that happen in them is important for early detection of retinal degenerative diseases and for monitoring the effectiveness of new remedies.”

This is information about age-related macular degeneration analysis

Author: Press service
A supply: EPFL
the connection: Press Office – EPFL
Photo: Image is within the public area

Original analysis: Open entry.
Laura Kowalczuk et al. Science of Ophthalmology


Imaging the retinal pigment epithelium in vivo utilizing transscleral optical imaging in wholesome eyes

The objective

To picture wholesome retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). in vivo Statistical evaluation of macular RPE cell traits as a perform of age, axial size (AL) and eccentricity utilizing Transscleral Optical Imaging (TOPI).


A single-center, exploratory, potential, and descriptive scientific examine.


49 eyes from 29 members aged 21 to 70 years (AL: 24.03±0.93 mm; vary: 21.88 – 26.7 mm) (37.1±13.3 years; 19 males, 10 ladies)


Retinal photos, together with ultrawide-field fundus images and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, AL, and refractive error measurements had been collected at baseline. For every eye, 6 high-resolution RPE photos had been obtained utilizing TOPI at completely different places, one of which was imaged 5 occasions to evaluate the reproducibility of the tactic. Ophthalmic examination was repeated 1–3 weeks after TOPI to evaluate security. RPE photos had been analyzed with customized automated software program to acquire cell parameters. Statistical evaluation on chosen high-contrast photos included calculation of the coefficient of variation (CoV) for every function in every replicate, Spearman and Mann-Whitney exams to look at the connection between cell options and eye and/or topic traits.

Main final result measures.

RPE cell density, space, center-to-center distance, quantity of neighbors, circularity, size, firmness, and boundary distance CoV.


Macular RPE cell options had been extracted from TOPI photos from 1.6° to 16.3° eccentricity from the fovea. The common CoV for every trait was beneath 4%. Spearman’s take a look at confirmed correlations inside RPE cell traits. In the perifovea, within the area chosen for photos for all members, longer AL was related to considerably decreased RPE cell density (Spearman’s R, Rs = -0.746; P<0.0001) and elevated cell space (Rs = 0.668; P<0.0001), with out morphological modifications. Aging was additionally considerably related to decreased RPE density (Rs = -0.391; P=0.036) and elevated cell space (Rs=0.454; P=0.013). Lower spherical, much less symmetrical, longer and bigger cells have been noticed for 50 years.


The TOPI expertise represented RPE cells in vivo was lower than 4% reproducible for CoV and was used to research the affect of physiological elements on RPE cell morphometry within the perifovea of ​​wholesome volunteers.

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