Resolution of photoreceptor outer segment damage in a patient with unilateral acute idiopathic maculopathy observed using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography
PURPOSE To compare ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) cross-sectional images of the pig retina with histology, to evaluate the potential of ultrahigh-resolution OCT for enhanced visualization of intra- and subretinal structures. METHODS Ultrahigh-resolution OCT images were acquired with 1.4- micro m axial x 3- micro m transverse resolution from in vitro posterior eyecup preparations of the domestic pig. Frozen sections were obtained in precise alignment with OCT tomograms, by using major blood vessels as orientation markers and were counterstained with cresyl violet or unstained and examined by differential interference contrast microscopy. Micrographs from histologic sections were linearly scaled to correct for tissue shrinkage and compared with OCT tomograms. RESULTS In the proximal retina, ultrahigh-resolution OCT signal bands directly corresponded to the main retinal layers. For the wavelength region used ( approximately 800 nm), axodendritic layers (nerve fiber layer, inner and outer plexiform layers) were more reflective than cell body layers (ganglion cell layer, inner nuclear layer, outer nuclear layer). In the distal retina, substructures of the photoreceptor layer such as the interface between inner and outer segments were visualized, and the retinal pigment epithelium, the choriocapillaris, and superficial choroid layers were resolved. In addition, the time sequence of a retinal detachment event was monitored by ultrahigh-resolution OCT. CONCLUSIONS In vitro ophthalmic ultrahigh-resolution OCT imaging reveals retinal morphology with unprecedented detail. The specific assignment of OCT signal patterns to retinal substructures provides a basis for improved interpretation of in vivo ophthalmic OCT tomograms of high clinical relevance.