1. Heidelberg Engineering’s SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module Headed to the International Space Station

    Heidelberg Engineering’s SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module Headed to the International Space Station

    NASA has been conducting research on the effects of microgravity on vision using the SPECTRALIS imaging platform since 2013.

    Heidelberg Engineering, a privately-held imaging solutions company focused on advanced diagnostic instruments for eye care professionals, announced the continuation of the SPECTRALIS space odyssey as the SPECTRALIS imaging platform with the company’s next-generation OCT2 Module is headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

    NASA launched the SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module to the ISS aboard the Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-9, also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 9E on May 21, 2018 from Wallops Island, Virginia. The device will be installed on the ISS in late 2018.

    “The SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module uses patented TruTrack Active Eye Tracking,” said Ali Tafreshi, Director of Clinical Research for Heidelberg Engineering. “The technology uses a second laser beam to actively track the eye during OCT scanning to effectively ‘freeze’ the retina and avoid motion artifacts. With this technology, a precise OCT image can be captured, even if the subject blinks or moves.”

    NASA’s researchers have used the SPECTRALIS OCT to investigate the effects of a microgravity environment on vision since 2013. While the existing device continues to function normally on the ISS, a next-generation SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module will optimize acquisition speed and capture more complex scans, while considering use of additional modalities such as OCT angiography*, anterior segment imaging, ultra-widefield fundus imaging and MultiColor.

    “Upgrading to the OCT2 Module allows NASA to gain greater understanding of Space Flight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), a condition astronauts commonly experience as a result of space flights,” said Alex Huang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. “SANS can cause unilateral and bilateral optic disc edema. In association with the edema, globe flattening, choroidal and retinal folds, refractive error shifts, and nerve fiber layer infarcts have also been noted.”

    This research is expanding the exploration of ocular pathology in space and on Earth. “The SPECTRALIS OCT2 module will allow us to image deeper structures in the eye that are affected by long-term space flight such as the posterior optic nerve head anatomy and the choroidal blood supply to the retina.” said David M. Brown, MD, the retina specialist on the NASA SANS Research & Clinical Advisory Panel and a retinal surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “Understanding changes in these structures will be critical for future long-term missions to Mars and have applicability to terrestrial research on both retina disease and glaucoma.”


    An Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on May 21, 2018.

    About SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module

    The SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module is the next-generation OCT technology for the SPECTRALIS platform, offering enhanced image quality from vitreous to choroid. The fast scanning speed of 85,000 Hz helps improve clinical workflow and shorten examination times, making it more comfortable for patients. The OCT2 Module forms the basis for advanced imaging modalities such as OCT angiography and advanced glaucoma diagnostics. It can be added to any existing upgradeable SPECTRALIS system. An Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on May 21, 2018.

    About Heidelberg Engineering

    Heidelberg Engineering is a high-tech imaging solutions company which designs, manufactures, and distributes diagnostic instruments for eye care professionals. The company’s products are used around the world by ophthalmologists and optometrists to scan patients’ eyes for signs of disease and to assist in the management of patients found to have disease. Early recognition of disease helps to delay and prevent the most common causes of blindness. Typical diseases which can be recognized and tracked with Heidelberg Engineering’s technology include glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and macular edema. The company’s core technologies include confocal microscopy, scanning lasers and optics, optical coherence tomography, software image analysis and IT solutions for image management. Heidelberg Engineering is a privately held company, headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany. The company distributes its products through a network of wholly owned subsidiaries and distribution partners in most countries of the world.

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