Functional optical coherence tomography enables in vivo physiological assessment of retinal rod and cone photoreceptors

Academic Article


  • Transient intrinsic optical signal (IOS) changes have been observed in retinal photoreceptors, suggesting a unique biomarker for eye disease detection. However, clinical deployment of IOS imaging is challenging due to unclear IOS sources and limited signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Here, by developing high spatiotemporal resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) and applying an adaptive algorithm for IOS processing, we were able to record robust IOSs from single-pass measurements. Transient IOSs, which might reflect an early stage of light phototransduction, are consistently observed in the photoreceptor outer segment almost immediately (<4 ms) after retinal stimulation. Comparative studies of dark- and light-adapted retinas have demonstrated the feasibility of functional OCT mapping of rod and cone photoreceptors, promising a new method for early disease detection and improved treatment of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases that can cause photoreceptor damage.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhang Q; Lu R; Wang B; Messinger JD; Curcio CA; Yao X
  • Volume

  • 5