Rigorous modelling of ophthalmic optical coherence tomography to aid image interpretation and quantification
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has revolutionised in vivo imaging of the eye and its surrounding structures. It can be used in diagnosis, or, intraoperatively during surgery either using a non-invasive hand-held system or integrated into an interventional device such as a needle. OCT is currently being developed for use in, for example, corneal, cataract, glaucoma and vitreoretinal surgery. OCT is also a very powerful functional imaging technique owing to the rich information available to the clinician. For example, there is much interest in using OCT to map retinal and choroidal vasculature and, crucially, quantifying retinal blood flow. There is also much interest in performing in vivo blood cell differentiation.
The development of these functional imaging modalities requires a rigorous model of OCT image formation which has only very recently been demonstrated for the first time. This model is based on a pseudo-spectral full wave optical model of light propagation in tissue, coupled with optical imaging theory. This main aims of this project are to adapt the existing model to ophthalmic OCT, resulting in the first model of its kind, and to apply this model to clinical applications which have not yet been able to be theoretically analysed without this model.
The specific objectives of this project are to:
- Modify the rigorous model of OCT image formation to make it suitable for application in ophthalmology;
- Improve the computational efficiency of the model using both algorithmic development and high bandwidth computer hardware such as GPUs;
- Apply the model to validating clinically relevant functional imaging techniques such as blood flow quantification;
- Perform proof of principle simulations which demonstrate blood cell type differentiation in vivo.
This project would suit a student who is strong in at least one of mathematics, computer programming and optics.
This project will be addressing clinical imaging challenges in ophthalmology and so fits directly within that clinical research programme. As the project relates to the development of a computational model, it fits within the computational modelling research theme.