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N. Doble, C. Kempf, B. Xue, M. A. Helmbrecht, S. S. Choi; The Design and Construction of an Adaptive Optics Confocal Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope for Focused Delivery of Laser Energy to the Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4243.
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Lasers are being fielded at an ever increasing rate on the modern battlefield, whether for range finding, designation, or providing a lethal dose to destroy a target. Due to their widespread use, the number of retinal injuries to the war fighter is correspondingly increasing. Clearly, intensive study into the effects of laser damage to the retina is necessary. Studying the effects at the cellular level in vivo will enable new understanding into the damage, loss of visual function and healing mechanisms that take place.
Iris AO, Inc has collaborated with the United States Air Force to design and construct a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope (cSLO) equipped with adaptive optics (AO) to allow the delivery of diffraction-limited laser energy to the retina. The system can therefore act as a surgical microscope and can be further modified to deliver precise stimuli to single photoreceptors for basic vision research. Further, the system includes firmware-based retinal-image stabilization, thus enhancing the ability to view high resolution video imagery of the in vivo retina.
The design and construction of the cSLO is complete and we have acquired full confocal images on a static target. We are currently aligning the AO components namely the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) deformable mirror and wavefront sensor. We have also demonstrated retinal image stabilization in an offline video dataset from an existing AOcSLO. The stabilization algorithm reduced the movement of a single photoreceptor due to eye movements from 70-90 pixels to less than 2 pixels. We are in the process of fully integrating all these subsystems.
The AOcSLO described here will enable the first experimental delivery of diffraction limited pulses to the eye for laser retinal damage studies to measure war fighter susceptibility to retinal damage. The system provides a means whereby an exact energy density can be delivered precisely to a specific location in the living retina. Such a system is also invaluable for ongoing research into and updating of laser damage safety standards.
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