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Subspecialties Retina, Retina, Imaging & Diagnostics

Metabolism, Melanin and Multiple Modalities

At a Glance

  • Understanding of retinal metabolic activities and retinal melanin decay are limited, primarily because the technology has not existed to measure and study these parameters
  • We set out to improve understanding by developing new imaging modalities
  • Specifically, we are working with photoacoustic imaging and vis-OCT
  • These new understandings will likely inform how we diagnose, stage and treat retinal disease.

Back in 2009, we were given a challenge – to optically measure the oxygen rate of the retina. It was a problem – at the time, gross retinal blood flow could be measured using laser Doppler velocimetry (and more recently, and with greater granularity, using OCT angiography). Retinal blood oxygenation saturation (sO2) can be determined using live-time fluorescence imaging or camera-based oximetry – and this approach has shown that blood flow and sO2 is altered in several pathologies, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. But there are limitations to our current knowledge regarding the retinal metabolic rate in health and disease. Why? Mainly because there is no technology that can measure both blood flow and oxygenation at the same time. To gain a more comprehensive profile of biological function and disease status, we set out to find a way to measure both.

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About the Author

Hao F. Zhang

Hao F. Zhang is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Professor of Ophthalmology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA, and Chairman and Founder of Opticent Health. His research interests include biomedical optics, focusing on OCT, super-resolution microscopy, and ophthalmic and molecular imaging

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