Br J Ophthalmol 94:372-376 doi:10.1136/bjo.2009.163501
  • Laboratory science

Retinal imaging using commercial broadband optical coherence tomography

  1. Joseph Carroll2,3,4
  1. 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  2. 2Department of Cell Biology Neurobiology, & Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  4. 4Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joseph Carroll, Medical College of Wisconsin, The Eye Institute, 925 N. 87th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; jcarroll{at}
  • Accepted 29 August 2009
  • Published Online First 21 September 2009


Aims To examine the practical improvement in image quality afforded by a broadband light source in a clinical setting and to define image quality metrics for future use in evaluating spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) images.

Methods A commercially available SD-OCT system, configured with a standard source as well as an external broadband light source, was used to acquire 4 mm horizontal line scans of the right eye of 10 normal subjects. Scans were averaged to reduce speckling and multiple retinal layers were analysed in the resulting images.

Results For all layers there was a significant improvement in the mean local contrast (average improvement by a factor of 1.66) when using the broadband light source. Intersession variability was shown not to be a major contributing factor to the observed improvement in image quality obtained with the broadband light source. We report the first observation of sublamination within the inner plexiform layer visible with SD-OCT.

Conclusion The practical improvement with the broadband light source was significant, although it remains to be seen what the utility will be for diagnostic pathology. The approach presented here serves as a model for a more quantitative analysis of SD-OCT images, allowing for more meaningful comparisons between subjects, clinics and SD-OCT systems.


  • HT and AMD contributed equally to this work.

  • Funding The authors acknowledge grant support from the National Institutes of Health (EY001931, EY014537 and EY017607) and from the Gene & Ruth Posner Foundation, Fight for Sight, The E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind, the RD & Linda Peters Foundation, Hope for Vision, and an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness. Joseph Carroll is the recipient of a Career Development Award from Research to Prevent Blindness.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The study followed the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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