An estimated 2.2 billion people live with vision impairment and about half those cases could have been prevented with the right treatment. Currently, the right treatment involves multiple, individual processes to give a full picture of a patient’s eye health. Cylite’s Hyperparallel Optical Coherence Tomography device (HP-OCT) is about to change that.
Cylite, the winner of the 2020 Australian Engineering Excellence Award and Victoria’s Sir William Hudson Award that same year is a device to integrate the functions of five existing eye-scanning instruments into a single, automated platform. This will help more health professionals screen more patients and detect eye disease earlier.
At the time of that award, HP-OCT’s underlying engineering and technology were quite developed, however their user interface (UI), the software used to drive the device and display the images were still in an intense development phase, according to CEO Kylee Hall.
“The HP-OCT had regulatory approval in Europe, UK and Australia; however, the UI was really only relevant to research institutions. Over these past few years, we have worked hard to refine our UI and are now close to commercialisation launch,” she said.
The technology is a world first in its ability to capture accurate volumetric data of the eye. Traditional scanning methods can be affected if the patient moves their eye, which is common as it can take several minutes to capture an image. As HP-OCT scans at 302,400 scans per second across a wide area of the eye, it only takes a couple of seconds so motion artefacts are minimised.
One of the reasons this is possible is that HP-OCT has eschewed the current fibre optics technology in favour of micro-optics technology, which includes a micro-lens array of 24 x 42 lenslets to split the light source into 1008 individual ‘beamlets’ – individual parallel beams of light.
The result is highly-accurate and repeatable elevation and curvature maps, as well as accurate analytics to enable clinicians to make more informed decisions. For example, the HP-OCT is capable of capturing, in one scan, a full 3D image of the anterior segment, which can be used for personalised contact lens fitting, as well as a full set of biometric measurements, including axial length, for use in myopia management. The 3D images also help eyecare professionals explain any issues in the eye to their patients.
Back on track
Kylee said that COVID threw up some challenges in terms of supply chain disruptions over the past few years, but the biggest hurdle bringing the technology to market has been time.
“Everything takes longer than you think. Throw in a global pandemic and your timelines blow out even more.
“Fortunately, the field the HP-OCT will serve, ophthalmology and optometry have been very patient and know what we are developing is extremely cutting-edge and will enable them to push their knowledge of their patients’ conditions to another level,” she said.
Kylee said that the Australian-designed and manufactured technology will be available later in 2023, and that her next challenge is scaling up the business to meet demand.
“Fortunately, the level of positive interest and support for us – as an Australian company creating technology that is normally developed in Germany, Japan, US or China – from the Australian optical community is overwhelming,” she said.
“We have also had several international researchers, ophthalmologists and potential distribution partners travel all the way out to our Mulgrave [a suburb of Melbourne] facility from the UK, US, Germany, Singapore etc to learn more about the technology.”
How does it work?
The OCT technology has been in development for ten years. Cylite said “it brings a new level of quantification to the topography of the ocular surfaces as it is not dependent on the tear-film quality (a limitation of keratometry and Placido disc topography) or fixation stability (a limitation of photographic/Scheimpflug based techniques).
“The HP-OCT™ technology acquires a complete 3D volume, from which biometric information is calculated, such as axial length and lens parameters such as position, curvature and tilt. Volume images are also generated for the assessment of the patient’s cornea, sclera, iridocorneal angle, iris, lens, and fundus.”
Currently OCT systems generate a cube of data, or a quasi-volume, by stacking B-scans. The limitation of this is that it can only be viewed in the X-axis (horizontal) or Y-axis (vertical) directions, not in an orthogonal or Z-axis/enface axis.
Cylite’s HP-OCT ability to capture volume data, rather than the point-by-point line-scan (B-scan) data allows the extraction of arbitrary B-scans throughout the volume in any direction.
The new and improved Engineers Australia Excellence Awards are now open for nomination. Learn more about the awards program and how to nominate here.
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