Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive micrometer-resolution volumetric imaging modality that has been employed in diverse applications. In this thesis, we first describe a GPU accelerated program to perform FDOCT data processing and real time 3D volumetric rendering. The real time visualization of volumetric images provided by the GPU acceleration was essential to the rest of the work described in this thesis. Small animal models of retinal diseases serve as a vital component in vision research, and non-invasive in vivo imaging is becoming an increasingly important tool in the field. We describe the first adaptive optics optical coherence tomography (AOOCT) imaging system for high resolution mouse retinal imaging. Images of mouse retina acquired with AOOCT showed significant improvement in the brightness and contrast of capillaries and nerve fiber bundles. However, the accuracy of wavefront sensing limited the performance of AOOCT. A novel wavefront sensorless adaptive optics (WSAO) OCT system was developed to overcome the issues associated with conventional wavefront sensing. Combination of WSAO with OCT allows coherence gated, depth resolved aberration correction. Images of both pigmented and albino mouse retinas acquired using WSAO OCT system demonstrated superior image quality. The real time high resolution WSAO OCT was leveraged for a time course study of laser exposure in the retina.
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Thesis advisor: Sarunic, Marinko V.
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