June 2013
Volume 54, Issue 15
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2013
Project MACULA (MACulopathy Unveiled by Laminar Analysis): a website of AMD histopathology
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kenneth Sloan
    Computer and Information Science, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Lindsay Hannon
    Computer and Information Science, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Jeffrey Messinger
    Ophthalmology, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Christine Curcio
    Ophthalmology, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Kenneth Sloan, None; Lindsay Hannon, None; Jeffrey Messinger, None; Christine Curcio, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2013, Vol.54, 2303. doi:
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      Kenneth Sloan, Lindsay Hannon, Jeffrey Messinger, Christine Curcio; Project MACULA (MACulopathy Unveiled by Laminar Analysis): a website of AMD histopathology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2303.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: To create a website featuring histological sections of human macula at different stages of age related macular degeneration (AMD), along with annotations gathered by trained observers.

Methods: We developed several ImageJ plug-ins to support imaging, measurement, and annotation of human retinal histology. High-resolution <1-µm sections of maculas of human donor eyes at 3-6 hr post-mortem are digitized by a whole slide image-stitching system (Olympus CellSens). Locations are referenced to the foveal center and peripapillary Bruch's membrane (BrM, negative x-axis). Thickness of 21 constituent chorioretinal layers (6 in the RPE-BrM complex) are measured and annotated to indicate >40 features at 25 standard locations in each section using a custom ImageJ plug-in. A DeepZoom version of the digital sections and the GoogleMaps API combine to create a browsable, multi-resolution web-based viewer. Markers identify features of interest.

Results: The viewer, and all images, measurements and annotations are available on a website which is nearing completion: Project MACULA (MACulopathy Unveiled by Laminar Analysis). Images are organized by diagnostic groups (normal, non-neovascular, neovascular AMD). Visitors can navigate and examine images at any resolution, request markers for features of interest, and measure these features. Ex vivo color photographs and OCT scans are also displayed. Definitions, methods, references, and full text publications are also available. Live demonstrations will be available at the poster.

Conclusions: High-resolution clinical imaging afforded by today's optical coherence tomography will benefit from reference to macula-wide cross-sectional chorioretinal histology of human eyes with AMD. Such specimens are not widely available. Digital sections and online virtual microscopes are now commonly used in clinical pathology and medical education and represent an ideal way to share this information. The anticipated website audience is ophthalmologists, optometrists, residents and fellows, vision scientists, instrumentation engineers, medical illustrators, and the public. Dissemination of annotated hisological sections demonstrating AMD stages using web-based technology will facilitate a deeper and more widespread appreciation of this disease.

Keywords: 599 microscopy: light/fluorescence/immunohistochemistry • 412 age-related macular degeneration • 551 imaging/image analysis: non-clinical  

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