Animal models play an important role for understanding the pathophysiology of glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. With these models, longitudinal studies can be performed and therefore there is need for non-invasive evaluation of disease progress. For that purpose optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be used. Since tissues with different polarization properties are important in these diseases, polarization sensitive OCT (PS-OCT) could be a valuable tool in preclinical research. In this work a high resolution PS-OCT (HR-PS-OCT) system was used in-vivo for rodent retinal imaging. A superluminescent diode with a bandwidth of 100 nm was used as a light source that yielded an axial resolution of 5.1 μm in air (3.8 μm in tissue). The A-scan rate was 83 kHz, a whole 3D dataset was acquired in a few seconds (1536×1024×200 pixels in 3.5 s) which reduced motion artifacts. Rats (Sprague-Dawley, Long-Evans and Brown Norway) as well as mice (C57BL/6) were imaged. High resolution reflectivity images showed all retinal layers in all animals. From acquired data also phase retardation, fast axis orientation and degree of polarization uniformity (DOPU) images were calculated. On phase retardation images sclera was identified as birefringent and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choroid as depolarizing tissues. Our results demonstrate the suitability of the system for high speed/resolution imaging in follow up studies on rodents.

© 2015 SPIE

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