This study reports the development of prototype swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) technology for imaging the anterior eye. Advances in vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) light sources, signal processing, optics and mechanical designs, enable a unique combination of high speed, long range, and deep penetration that addresses the challenges of anterior eye imaging. We demonstrate SS-OCT with a 325 kHz A-scan rate, 12.2 µm axial resolution (in air), and 15.5 mm depth range (in air) at 1310 nm wavelength. The ultrahigh 325 kHz A-scan rate not only facilitates biometry measurements by minimizing acquisition time and thus reducing motion, but also enables volumetric OCT for comprehensive structural analysis and OCT angiography (OCTA) for visualizing vasculature. The 15.5 mm (~ 11.6 mm in tissue) depth range spans all optical surfaces from the anterior cornea to the posterior lens capsule. The 1310 nm wavelength range enables structural OCT and OCTA deep in the sclera and through the iris. Achieving high speed and long range requires linearizing the VCSEL wavenumber sweep to efficiently utilize analog-to-digital conversion bandwidth. Dual channel recording of the OCT and calibration interferometer fringe signals, as well as sweep to sweep wavenumber compensation, is used to achieve invariant 12.2 µm (~ 9.1 µm in tissue) axial resolution and optimum point spread function throughout the depth range. Dynamic focusing using a tunable liquid lens extends the effective depth of field while preserving the lateral resolution. Improved optical and mechanical design, including parallax “split view” iris cameras and stable, ergonomic patient interface, facilitates accurate instrument positioning, reduces patient motion, and leads to improved imaging data yield and measurement accuracy. We present structural and angiographic OCT images of the anterior eye, demonstrating the unique imaging capabilities using representative scanning protocols which may be relevant to future research and clinical applications.
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