Ultra-sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging for eye disease


Millions of people worldwide suffer from eye diseases, some of which can be blinding. To help diagnose such conditions accurately and to work out effective, personalised plans for their management, eye specialists depend on imaging systems. Optical coherence tomography (OCT), is a computerised system that produces images of the eye in high detail.

In Liverpool, through close collaboration between engineers, scientists and clinicians, we are developing a new generation of ultrasensitive and ultra-high resolution OCT. This novel OCT technology is advantageous in imaging the fine cellular layers of the cornea and the tear film with the potential to improve understanding and management of many sight threatening diseases of the cornea (eg corneal ulceration, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders of the ocular surface, keratoconus, Fuchs dystrophy and refractive disorders). In addition, the improved OCT system will be helpful for imaging structures within the eye such as the retina and optic nerve. Improved, high-resolution OCT will bring significant benefits for people with eye disease, improving healthcare, and reducing social and economic costs.

National patient support groups such as the Fuchs Dystrophy, Keratoconus, Sjogren's and Ectodermal Dysplasia Societies recognise the importance of this work and have given their support  to the project. This project is also supported by regional patient support groups, such as Southport and West Lancs Glaucoma Support Group and the St Paul’s PIER (Patient Involvement in Eye Research) Group. 


Photographs of our prototype OCT system.

Left: the device. Right: the device with labels of the major components and optic path (red arrows).