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Proceedings Paper

Monitoring intracellular cavitation during selective targeting of the retinal pigment epithelium
Author(s): Clemens Alt; Costas M. Pitsillides; Jan Roegener; Charles P. Lin
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Paper Abstract

Selective targeting of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE), by either applying trains of microsecond laser pulses or, in our approach, by repetitively scanning a tightly focused spot across the retina, achieves destruction of RPE cells while avoiding damage to the overlying photoreceptors. Both techniques have been demonstrated as attractive methods for the treatment of retinal diseases that are caused by a dysfunction of the RPE. Because the lesions are ophthalmoscopically invisible, an online control system that monitors cell death during irradiation is essential to ensure efficient and selective treatment in a clinical application. Bubble formation inside the RPE cells has been shown to be the cell damage mechanism for nano- and picosecond pulses. We built an optical system to investigate whether the same mechanism extends into the microsecond regime. The system detects changes in backscattered light of the irradiating beam during exposure. Samples of young bovine eyes were exposed in vitro using single pulses ranging from 3 μs to 50 μs. Using the viability assay calcein-AM the ED50 threshold for cell death was determined and compared to the threshold for bubble formation. We also set up a detection system on our slit lamp adapted scanning system in order to determine the feasibility of monitoring threshold RPE damage during selective laser treatment in vivo. Intracellular cavitation was detected as a transient increase in backscattering signal, either of an external probe beam or of the irradiation beam itself. Monitoring with the irradiation beam is both simpler and more sensitive. We found the threshold for bubble formation to coincide with the threshold for cell damage for pulse durations up to 20 μs, suggesting that cavitation is the main mechanism of cell damage. For pulse widths longer than 20 μs, the cell damage mechanism appears to be increasingly thermal as the two thresholds diverge. We conclude that bubble detection can be used to monitor therapeutic endpoint for pulse durations up to 20 μs (or equivalent dwell time in a scanning approach). We have integrated a detection module into our slit lamp adapted laser scanner in order to determine threshold RPE damage during selective laser treatment in vivo.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 July 2003
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4951, Ophthalmic Technologies XIII, (14 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.477956
Show Author Affiliations
Clemens Alt, Wellman Labs. of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Harvard Medical School (United States)
Costas M. Pitsillides, Wellman Labs. of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Harvard Medical School (United States)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Jan Roegener, Wellman Labs. of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Harvard Medical School (United States)
Charles P. Lin, Wellman Labs. of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Harvard Medical School (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4951:
Ophthalmic Technologies XIII
Fabrice Manns; Per G. Söderberg; Arthur Ho, Editor(s)

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