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Imaging for Type 1 Diabetes

Optical Coherence Tomography RetinaOverview

In collaboration with the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, we image the retinas of teenagers with type 1 diabetes in the early stages of the disease. We wish to discover whether the initial damage to the eye arises from neural or cellular events. This analysis may lead to improved treatment for type 1 diabetes and protection against eye damage.

The image on the right shows the back of the eye using our imaging system. The branches are blood vessels while the white dots represent light receptors.

The imaging system uses optical coherence tomography (OCT), adaptive optics (AO), scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO), a Shack-Hartmann (SH) device and many other components. We assisted in the design modification of a ferrofluid AO mirror to acquire high-resolution imaging of the back of the eye. A control loop between an SH device and the mirror gives real-time corrections of eye aberrations.

Type 1 Diabetes and Our work

Type 1 diabetes develops from the lack of insulin production by the pancreas. Normal levels of insulin allow for glucose to be used by cells, while low levels result in high glucose levels, thus creating many complications. The retina of the eye is responsible for “translating” light into images that the brain can process. With diabetes, blood vessels can be damaged and the supply of blood to the retina is interrupted, thus deteriorating eyesight.

Through the development of our optical systems, SickKids aims to explore neuro-visual tests to detect early markers of type 1 diabetes. The in vivo imaging system allows us to identify which markers are predictive of blindness-prone diabetic retinopathy.  This research will be essential in determining appropriate treatments for diabetic retinopathy. The retinal imaging will help in determining whether diabetic retinopathy results from damage to the nerves or the blood vessels.

We have assisted in design modifications of a ferrofluid adaptive optics mirror for use in high resolution imaging of the eye. A control loop between a Shack-Hartmann device and the mirror will give real-time correction of the optical imperfections (aberrations) of the eye. This element will be less expensive and have a larger stroke than other available AO corrections for ocular imaging.

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