Towards personalized therapy in retinal diseases - Development and evaluation of therapeutic performance parameters from OCT-Angiography images

We hereby apply for a HEiKA project funding for a cooperation between the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Biomedical Technology (IBT) and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Heidelberg (UNI-HD). The proposed project is driven by the recent development of the Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA) in Ophthalmology. For decades, vasculature was visualized by invasive dye-based angiography. Limitations of this gold standard include dye induced adverse effects and time-consuming procedures. Moreover, dye-based angiography is only a two-dimensional study focusing on the superficial retinal circulation, without the ability to visualize the deeper capillary structures. OCTA combines the OCT technology with doppler photometrie. It visualizes the retinal vessels and capillaries in different axial depths which allows physicians a novel three-dimensional insight into the microvascularization of the retina and the morphological changes during therapy. No parametrization of the vascularization or morphology is established so far, therefore the assessment of the patient's condition is subjective. Using machine vision tools to parametrize the degree of vascularization and further on the vascularization across multiple layers provides the physicians valuable objective information and has the potential to detect early changes and thus increase patient’s visual outcome. OCTA technology is a powerful tool with still un-exploit applications. The results of this research will be published from a clinical and computational point of view and will lead to sequential research questions.

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