First Clinical Application of Low-Cost OCT

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2019 Jun 28;8(3):61. doi: 10.1167/tvst.8.3.61. eCollection 2019 May.


Purpose: We present the design of a new low-cost optical coherence tomography (OCT) system and compare its retinal imaging capabilities to a standard commercial system through a clinical study.

Methods: A spectral-domain OCT system was designed using various cost-reduction techniques to be low-cost, highly portable, and completely stand-alone. Clinical imaging was performed on 120 eyes of 60 patients (60 eyes of normal volunteers and 60 eyes with retinal disease) using both the low-cost OCT and a Heidelberg Engineering Spectralis OCT. Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was measured from resulting images to determine system performance.

Results: The low-cost OCT system was successfully applied to clinical imaging of the retina. The system offers an axial resolution of 8.0 μm, a lateral resolution of 19.6 μm, and an imaging depth of 2.7 mm for a 6.6-mm field of view in the X and Y directions. Total cost is $5037, a significant size reduction compared to current commercial higher performance systems. Mean CNR value of low-cost OCT images is only 5.6% lower compared to the Heidelberg Spectralis.

Conclusions: The images captured with the low-cost OCT were of adequate resolution and allowed for clinical diagnostics. It offers comparable performance as a retinal screening tool at a fraction of the cost of current commercial systems.

Translational relevance: Low-cost OCT has the potential to increase access to retinal imaging.

Keywords: diagnostic imaging; optical coherence tomography; point of care.