Second-Generation OCT Module Goes the Extra Mile

Device features increased speed and higher image contrast.

David M. Brown, MD, a retinal physician with Retina Consultants of Houston, in Texas, was prompted to upgrade to Heidelberg Engineering’s OCT2 module for the Spectralis diagnostic imaging platform because of its increased scanning speed and throughput. “I increasingly found that the process of obtaining optical coherence tomography (OCT) caused patient flow to bottleneck at my practice,” he says. “The OCT2 module helps to mitigate that issue. I can obtain a complete volume scan within 12 to 15 seconds for each eye that is precisely image tracked to the last visit.”

The OCT2 module is a new component for Heidelberg’s Spectralis diagnostic imaging platform that provides a scan rate of 85,000 Hz, making image acquisition twice as fast as before. The increased speed also allows for future applications, such as OCT angiography, which is already available in some countries but not yet in the United States.

“We believe OCT angiography will be a significant tool used in future retinal exams; the ability to have that hardware in place for this technology is very advantageous,” says Dr. Brown, who is also a clinical professor of ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, and vice chair for research, Blanton Eye Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital, both located in Houston, Texas.

The OCT2 module also offers enhanced image quality from vitreous to choroid with the precision of TruTrack active eye tracking. “This allows clinicians to view large areas of the retina in high resolution,” says Kester Nahen, PhD, managing director, Heidelberg Engineering, based in Heidelberg, Germany. “En face OCT imaging with transverse sections of 6-micron lateral resolution enables physicians to visualize vascular structures, nerve fiber bundles, and the extent of retinal pathologies — such as cystoid macular edema.”

Image of a healthy retina obtained using the OCT2 module.


The Spectralis ophthalmic imaging platform has an upgradable, modular design. Physicians can combine multiple imaging modalities into a single platform according to their patients’ needs, including OCT, multiple scanning laser fundus imaging modalities, widefield and ultrawidefield modules, and scanning laser angiography.

Employing the latest generation of highly sensitive spectral domain (SD-OCT) technology across both generations of Spectralis OCT modules ensures data compatibility. “Images and thickness maps obtained with first and second-generation OCT modules are fully compatible, better enabling long-term patient follow-up and progression analysis,” Dr. Nahen says.

Retina specialists benefit from a higher image contrast in deeper retinal and choroidal structures compared to images from earlier versions of the device. Details of deeper structures can be visualized in a single scan without the need for dedicated enhanced-depth imaging protocols.

The Spectralis system offers an entire array of options for different eye care professionals and workflows. Its main clinical applications include OCT options for comprehensive retina and glaucoma examinations, fundus imaging with confocal scanning laser (infrared, BluePeak blue autofluorescence, and MultiColor), and several ultrawidefield and angiography options for conditions such as AMD, ME, BRVO, CRVO, and DME.

“Because patients with these pathologies often have difficulty with fixation, the OCT2 module allows us to get quality images with a shorter fixation time,” Dr. Brown notes.


Doubling the scanning speed reduces the imaging time for patients by more than half. “With the added benefit of live active eye tracking, it ends up being closer to a 60% reduction in the overall exam time, because you obtain quality scans the first time,” Dr. Brown says. In addition, shortened exam time is more comfortable for patients.

“Patients also benefit from better image quality because it provides their physician with a better resource to support their diagnosis and manage their treatment,” Dr. Nahen says.


Physicians also benefit from the shorter exam times and enhanced image quality. “Physicians can review a great deal of diagnostic information in a single visit, which is beneficial to workflow efficiency in busy retina practices,” Dr. Nahen says.

Dr. Brown says the OCT2 module allows him to pick up slight changes, such as subtle vitreomacular traction or drug toxicity, earlier than other devices do. “With active eye tracking, I have visit-to-visit comparability, so I can see whether a treatment is working and adjust a treatment plan accordingly,” he says.

Image averaging based on a laser-tracked image makes it easy for a novice photographer to get great images, Dr. Brown adds. “Other OCT devices lack this feature, so every session can be different and the location of the scan can be different. But with the Spectralis, follow-up scans are always taken in the same location,” he concludes. RP