Christos Bergeles is honoured to be a recipient of the New Lecturer’s Small Grant, awarded by Fight for Sight. Fight for Sight will support his research on 3D medical imaging device for ophthalmoscopy through equipment support.
Retinal fundus imaging, routinely performed at the practitioner’s office, provides vast amounts of information to quantify the health of an individual’s sight. Acquiring high-quality images for better condition evaluation, however, is challenging due to focus, field-of-view, and illumination constraints. Even further, it is hard to perceive the 3D structure of the retina, e.g. the depth of the optic disk, through looking only at 2D images. Thus, to improve the quality of acquired images and provide 3D retinal structure information , new methods for retinal examinations need to be devised.
What will the researcher be doing
What we will investigate is the construction of an ophthalmoscope that captures in one shot the complete in focus 3D structure of the human eye. This ophthalmoscope will be based around new camera sensors that capitalize on state-of-the-art micromanufacturing techniques. Instead of using a single lens, as most cameras do, this new ophthalmoscope will use an array of microlenses. This allows the encoding of 3D information while giving the flexibility to adjust the image focus after the picture has been taken. Such research is only possible due to the joint progress in microengineering capabilities and the clinical understanding of disease progression.
The researcher will conduct optical simulations and raytracing-based rendering with the goal of identifying the optimal ophthalmoscope design, developing the appropriate system architecture, and engineering the medical device. He will be responsible for creating software-based solutions that extract the 3D information from the encoded sensor information, and to investigate how to increase the resolution and clarity of the acquired images through image processing techniques.
How will the research help people with sight loss
3D ophthalmoscopy shows great potential for glaucoma detection. When glaucoma starts developing, the optic disk changes shape as the optic nerve becomes thinner. To understand this, however, 3D images are required. The proposed ophthalmoscope will deliver these 3D images, and will thus make detection and tracking of glaucoma progression more timely and accurate.