What is Retinal imaging?
Retinal imaging is a non-invasive & completely safe method of obtaining pictures of the back of the eye.
What is retinal imaging?
Light from very low-power lasers or a camera flash enters the eye through the pupil. Light reflected back leaves the same way to be collected by the machine creating an image of the retina. Similar types of imaging are performed at a high street optician for a standard eye health check-up. However, we analyse these images in more detail to see what other information they could reveal about the health of human body and brain.
What it used for?
The back of the eye is called the retina and is one of the few places in the human body allowing easy observation of blood vessels and nerves. These anatomical structures are shared with the brain, but where they are much less accessible. We are researching how we can use information from images of the retina to understand what is happening in the brain.
Subtle changes in the retina may reflect similar processes happening and these early signs may precede declining brain health by years or even decades. Studying blood vessels in the eye is also useful in detecting and understanding diseases that affect the human circulatory system such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
For example, with further research, we may soon be able to identify people with undiagnosed high blood pressure through pictures of their retina, thus enabling a doctor to prescribe appropriate medication and considerably reduce their risk of having a future heart attack or stroke.
Retinal imaging can be used to see:
- Blood vessels that lie close to the surface as well as those that are located deeper in the retina
- The optic nerve head where blood vessels and nerves enter and leave the eye
- The different cellular layers which contain nerves and axons
- The macular, which is the part of our eye responsible for central vision
Relevant Edinburgh Imaging publications
23 Sep 20. Featured Paper. Quantitative measurements of enlarged perivascular spaces in the brain are associated with retinal microvascular parameters in older community-dwelling subjects.
10 Sep 20. Featured Paper. The application of optical coherence tomography angiography in cerebral small vessel disease, ischemic stroke, & dementia: a systematic review.
24 Jul 20. Featured Paper. Retinal biomarkers discovery for cerebral small vessel disease in an older population.
10 Jan 20. Featured Paper. Association between hypertension & retinal vascular features in ultra-widefield fundus imaging.
21 Mar 19. Vampire Software. VAMPIRE® fundus image analysis algorithms: Validation & diagnostic relevance in hypertensive cats
13 Mar 19. Featured Paper. A multimodal approach to cardiovascular risk stratification in patients with type 2 diabetes incorporating retinal, genomic & clinical features.
06 Apr 18. Featured Paper. Peripheral retinal imaging biomarkers for alzheimer's disease: a pilot study.
02 Dec 16. Featured Paper. The application of retinal fundus camera imaging in dementia: A systematic review.
17 Jun 14. Featured Paper. Retinal imaging as a source of biomarkers for diagnosis, characterization & prognosis of chronic illness or long-term conditions.