2013 Issue 2, PSI's Compact Adaptive Optics Retinal Imager

May 07, 2013

In this issue, we describe a new product PSI is developing that should provide health benefits to a significant segment of the world’s population by improving detection of diseases of the eye.

The development of this product originates from an SBIR investment by the National Institutes of Health. The SBIR program has repeatedly demonstrated its important role in enabling innovative small businesses, such as PSI, to first demonstrate the feasibility of a new technology and then, in a second phase, develop an engineering prototype embodying the innovation. In this issue, we present one of our most exciting new advances in the biomedical area, and more specifically in ophthalmic imaging.


PSI's Compact Adaptive Optics Retinal Imager

Ocular fundus imaging is the essential diagnostic procedure in ophthalmology. Recent developments in high resolution Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), wavefront correction in retinal imaging, and other diagnostic imaging advances, have enabled us to obtain three-dimensional images of the retina in the living eye. Our technology is able to now provide morphometric data with resolution at the cellular level. The capability to map and visualize retinal structures in unprecedented detail should lead to improved understanding of disease processes and enhanced treatment modalities.

Regular eye examinations have been identified as being integral to facilitating the early diagnosis of ocular disease. Retinal imaging technologies are at the forefront of improving the level of care provided to patients.

Retinal imaging techniques have been widely used to assess the condition and detect abnormalities since as early as the mid-1970s. There are a number of systemic diseases as well as eye conditions that produce early symptoms. Most retinal diseases manifest first at the periphery of the retina, therefore, wide field visualization and imaging aids early detection. The need for higher resolution images to allow practitioners to diagnose and monitor eye diseases has driven advances in retinal imaging techniques.

The development of the compact adaptive optics (AO) retinal imager at PSI is technically coordinated by Dr. Mircea Mujat. His team includes Dan Ferguson, Ankit Patel, while the entire program is supervised by Dr. Nick Iftimia, manager of the Biomedical Technologies group. PSI’s retinal imager resolves individual photoreceptors (cones) and provides unprecedented detail that can be used to diagnose, follow up, and help treat several important retinal diseases. These include diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness for Americans under the age of 60, and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 50 in the western world. Representative images from the instrument are shown below.

Mircea Mujat

Mircea Mujat

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Duration of diabetes is also a major risk factor associated with the development of diabetic retinopathy. This is of global concern as the occurrence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise in many countries. Globally, around 285 million people in the 20-79 age group suffer from diabetes and this number is likely to rise to over 400 million by 2030. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), around 30% (4.1 million) of diabetic adults aged 40 and above in the US are estimated to suffer from diabetic retinopathy.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the third leading cause of visual impairment and blindness and is responsible for 9% of all blindness cases resulting from eye diseases worldwide. The National Eye Institute estimated that around two million people in the US suffer from AMD and the number is expected to reach three million by 2020. According to the results of a forecast simulation model published in the April 2009 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, the number of cases of early AMD in the US is likely to increase to 17.8 million in 2050 across all scenarios.

Ankit Patel

Ankit Patel

Macular Degeneration 2

Macular detail at multiple scales: Single 3x5 deg frame (left); Magnified insets, 1.2 deg (right) and 0.12 deg (~35 µm) fields. White dot indicates fovea.

Cone Mosaic

Cone mosaic in normal subject: Single 3x5 deg frame from 200-frame video. Magnified insets 0.25 deg (~70 µm)

Product Status

At this year’s ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) annual meeting, PSI exhibited an advanced prototype instrument suitable for clinical research. The Compact Adaptive Optics Retinal Imager is the smallest instrument of its kind with demonstrated capability to resolve individual cones in the fovea. This ability enables better understanding of eye disorders. PSI’s technology is protected by several patents. PSI has developed this prototype specifically with features that support clinical uses. These features include: compact device footprint compatible with a clinical environment; AO focus control for layer selection and programmed focus; en-face, quasi-confocal low-speckle retinal images with low power near-infrared illuminator for patient comfort and safety; ability to compensate for a wide range of spherical ametropia and astigmatism permitting use on a wide patient population having a broad range of refraction; dual-scanner controls with multiple modes for automated montage acquisition, etc.; pupil camera for quick patient alignment(x, y and z); and integrated LCD fixation/stimulus display, with high brightness LED backlight and software focus/brightness control.

PSI’s retinal imager is now available for demonstration at PSI. To arrange for a demonstration, inquire about additional technical details, or to purchase, please contact:


Technical Sales Support
Nicusor Iftimia
Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810
Phone: 978-689-0003
Email: iftimia@psicorp.com


Technology Transition Manger
Mark Druy
Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810
Phone: 978-689-0003
Email: druy@psicorp.com


R. Daniel Ferguson

Faraday Inc. Durable Trivalent Plating Process

PSI’s subsidiary, Faraday Technology Inc., an EPA 2011 SBIR winner, has developed a new trivalent chromium plating process. This new process avoids the use of toxic hexavalent chromium.

Faraday published its findings in Products Finishing Magazine on January 2, 2013. The paper describes the pulse and pulse reverse waveform process as a true “drop-in” replacement. Standard surface prep steps were used.

The chromium coating was applied to the internal diameters of 4130 steel pipes. Test data showed the same or better properties (such as hardness, thickness, and wear resistance) to coatings from standard plating processes.

Contract News

PSI recently received the following SBIR research contracts:

“Anterior Eye OCT-based Profiler for Automating Ocular Surface Prosthetic Fitting” from U.S. Army Medical Research;

“Networkable Automated Water Vapor Lidar for Trospheric Profiling” from the Department of Energy;

“Rare Earth Recovery from Industrial Waste” from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Donna Lamb

Nick Iftimia, Mark Druy and David Green

A publication of
Physical Sciences Inc.
Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved