Background: To compare spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) cross-sectional images of human central retina obtained from donor eyes with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to corresponding histopathology from light micrographs. To establish the utility of SDOCT for localizing pathology in the posterior eyecup, for identifying ocular disease in donor eyes, or for directing subsequent sectioning of retinal lesions for research.
Methods: Seven consecutive human donor eyes were selected based on age. The eyes, with the anterior segment removed, were imaged by SDOCT with a focusing aspheric lens. Four eyes were from donors with a clinical history of AMD, and three were from age-matched donors with no history of AMD. Histopathological correlation of morphological changes detected in three eyes by SDOCT was obtained for comparison to step serial-sectioned light microscopy images of the formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded retina. A simplified imaging setup was tested on an enucleated porcine eye for comparison.
Results: AMD pathology was detected and localized in four eyes by SDOCT. The SDOCT images correlated with the histopathology observed by light microscopy in each sectioned eye. Pathologies included a subfoveal neovascular lesion with subretinal fluid, peripapillary neovascularization, epiretinal membrane, foveal cyst, choroidal folds, and drusen. Similar imaging was possible with the simplified setup.
Conclusions: SDOCT imaging identified retinal disease of the posterior eyecup in human donor eyes. Pathology detected with SDOCT was verified by light microscopy in three eyes, supporting the utility of SDOCT as a screening tool for research.