Next Generation OCT Systems for Glaucoma Diagnosis

UK-based Gooch & Housego has announced the start of work on the GALAHAD (Glaucoma – Advanced, Label-free High Resolution Automated OCT Diagnosis) project. The project, inaugurated in December and funded as part of the EU Horizon 2020 program, will develop and apply research into high resolution OCT for glaucoma diagnosis.

Occular damage
Occular damage caused by glaucoma Image courtesy: Community Eye Health via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

The project GALAHAD targets the critical need for better glaucoma diagnostic systems. Glaucoma is an age-related major cause of blindness. The eye disease is characterized by an irreversible damage to the optic nerve head caused by increased intra-ocular pressure. The current screening and basic diagnostics for the disease involve intra-ocular pressure measurement, visual field tests and detection of structural damage to the optic nerve head and retinal nerve fibre layer. Currently, methods have high rates of false positive or false negative results. This is due to the impossibility of in depth analysis of optical nerve head damage given the poor resolution of today’s optical technologies.

A leading candidate for developing diagnostic techniques is optical coherence tomography (OCT). The challenge however is the required axial resolution is ~1 μm. Such a resolution is well beyond the 3-5 μm resolution of today’s commercial systems. The GALAHAD project aims to develop a label free, compact and easy to operate high resolution diagnostic OCT system. The multiband and multimodal system will use submicron ultra-high resolution polarisation sensitive OCT (UHR PS OCT). The key breakthrough elements are:

  • A revolutionary low cost multiband supercontinuum light source.
  • Ground-breaking ultra-broadband photonic components required to exploit such a source.
  • Automated glaucoma screening algorithms: using end user evaluation of cell and animal models and tissue samples, automated algorithms will be developed, trained and tested so that non-expert operators will be able to perform glaucoma screening.

The in depth glaucoma diagnostics after a positive screening that GALAHAD will provide should contrast with conventional methods. It is expected that false positive and false negative screening results will dramatically reduce, decreasing the number of patients suffering from glaucoma-related disability. The project is driven by world leading companies and manufacturers of OCT systems and guided by requirement specifications and validated by high ranking clinical and experimental ophthalmologists in their clinical settings. G&H’s standing as pioneers in the development of both SLED and swept source OCT systems makes us an ideal partner for this project.

GALAHAD project partners are:

  1. Gooch & Housego (Torquay) Limited United Kingdom
  2. Optos plc United Kingdom
  3. NKT PHOTONICS A/S Denmark
  4. IBSEN PHOTONICS AS Denmark
  5. VIVID COMPONENTS LTD United Kingdom
  6. DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET Denmark
  7. UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA Spain
  8. GLOUCESTERSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST United Kingdom
  9. WESTFAELISCHE WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAET MUENSTER Germany
  10. REGION HOVEDSTADEN Denmark

For more information on OCT systems and components and its application, email us at info@goochandhousego.com.
Photo credit: Community Eye Health via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC