OCT technology looks to have a hopeful future but not only in the hospital or clinic.
Due to dropping costs, OCT technology quite possibly has a future for home care. As SPIE Photonics West begins, we caught up with Adam Wax, President of Lumedica to get his take on the future of this tech.
Dr Adam Wax is President and Chief Scientist of Lumedica based out of Durham, NC. Lumedica creates affordable medical OCT instruments. Leveraging off-the-shelf and custom imaging components, Lumedica reduces the cost of diagnostic devices, increases durability and makes them easier to distribute.
In a clinical setting, do you see OCT imaging replacing the need for MRI, CT, scans or other technology?
Dr Adam Wax: Not necessarily. MRI, CT are better at imaging large volumes of tissue with lower resolution. They also require more complex, costly systems. OCT can serve a different role where high-resolution imaging data is needed and there may not be justification for the cost of an MRI scan or there is a desire to avoid the ionizing radiation of CT. However, with low-cost OCT, there is the opportunity to try this technology for new applications such as intraoperative surgical guidance.
As you make OCT imaging more affordable, do you see a future in the consumer market? If so, could patient wearables self-detect diseases without physician intervention?
Dr Adam Wax: There is an interest in using OCT in the home. For certain retinal diseases, it makes sense to have a lower cost scanning device available to the patient for more frequent screening and without requiring travel to the physician office. I think we are still a bit far off from making OCT small enough and cheap enough to enable a wearable. And although the need for wearable OCT is not apparent today, sometimes it is only after a new technology becomes available does the use case becomes evident.
What other practical uses do you see for OEMs integrating your OCT technology?
Dr Adam Wax: We have had a variety of different companies approach us for OEM OCT modules. These range from pushing OCT into new markets for ophthalmic imaging such as animal research or introducing new technologies to market to developing new use cases for OCT in fields where it has not been well adopted such as dermatology or dentistry.
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