Aeon Imaging Receives NIH Grant for Confocal and Autofluorescence Imaging of Macular Degeneration Using a Low Cost Digital Imager
Aeon Imaging Receives a 2019 NIH Grant for Confocal and Autofluorescence Imaging of Macular Degeneration Using a Low Cost Digital Imager. The principal investigator is Mathew Muller. Below is a summary of the proposed work.
The overall goal of the proposed SBIR Phase II research is to build and evaluate a low cost, multi-mode retinal camera used to detect and manage causes of macular impairment. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) remains the most common cause of permanent vision loss in the US and many industrialized countries. Treatments with portable lasers and injectable drugs can save sight, but early detection and careful monitoring is essential to help maintain visual acuity and avoid over-treating with injectables. Specialized imaging techniques, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and autofluorescence (AF) imaging, have been developed that provide better detection of key lesions than flood-illuminated color fundus photography, but is not available to all due to their high cost. This creates a scarcity of OCT and AF imaging equipment at primary care and non-specialty eye clinics, which forces many elderly patients to travel to tertiary centers to obtain monitoring and treatment. In this Phase II proposal, Aeon builds on a successful Phase I project by enhancing its novel Digital Light Ophthalmoscope (DLO) for the multimodal detection of lesions associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Specifically, we will incorporate a custom near infrared (NIR) illumination module to perform multiply scattered light imaging for the detection of disruptions in the RPE layer such as drusen (Aim 1). We will also develop and test a novel and cost-effective structured light imaging method to create en face depth sectioned images of the retina, generating coarse topographic measurements of retinal thickness and height that will be suitable for the detection of treatable exudation (Aim 2). The location of drusen and thickness of exudative regions will be evaluated in patients with AMD, plus retinal degenerations and diabetes, and 70 normal subjects, then compared to SD-OCT (Aim 3). Finally, images will be taken of the same subjects using Aeon's Phase I autofluorescence system (DLO-AF) and compared to OCT to determine the cost-benefit of incorporating autofluorescence (AF) imaging functionality into our DLO system. The aging of the population make the need for lower cost but high quality products an urgent one. Aeon Imaging LLC, in partnership with the Indiana University School of Optometry, is addressing the public health challenge of providing eye care to the elderly and underserved by developing cost-effective cameras that can be readily used in small practices, satellite offices, or with internet-based telemedicine platforms.