Optical coherence tomography is high resolution noninvasive imaging technology which is used to obtain cross sectional images of retina and optic nerve fibers. It uses light waves to produce high resolution 2D images of retina and related parts. Optical coherence tomography has evolved as one of the most important technology used in ophthalmic practices. Unique features offered by this technology enable broad range of research and clinical applications. This technology helps ophthalmologist to obtain images of distinctive layers of retina which helps in diagnosis of various eye disorders including age related macular degeneration and glaucoma. This technology employs light from range of light sources to obtain in-depth profile of retina.
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There are two main methods of OCT-time domain (TD) and spectral domain (SD). Time domain optical coherence tomography uses broadband optical source and a photo detector. The principle of operation is based on partial coherence where photo detector senses variation in the interference to produce cross sectional images. Recent advancements in OCT technology have enabled imaging of nontransparent tissues by use of longer wavelength to reduce scattering of light across eye surface. One of the major applications of the technology is to use in conventional excisional biopsy by providing high depth images of pathology that cannot be obtained by use of other imaging techniques. Another important application of OCT is use in surgical interventions by enabling to see beneath the surface of tissues for surgical procedures of sensitive structures such as eye vessels and nerves. Although OCT technology is primarily used in ophthalmology, however owing to its unique property, OCT has found application in other fields such as dermatology and cardiology.
Increasing geriatric population is primary factor expected to propel growth of the global market. Elderly population is at high risk of developing chronic diseases and age related eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataract. Elderly population is rapidly growing owing to availability of advanced healthcare measures. According to World Health Organization in 2010, around 524 million people were aged 65 and above and this number is expected to triple and reach 1.5 billion by 2050. Between 2010 and 2050, the aging population in developing countries is expected to increase with more than 250 percent as compared to 71 percent increase in developed countries. Such high aging population base will increase demand for diagnostic technologies including optical coherence tomography. Furthermore, technological benefits offered by OCT such as ability to analyze in depth structure of eyes and related parts and extensive application of OCT in tissue imaging will further drive the growth of the market. However unfavorable reimbursement scenario and absence of sufficient clinical data is expected to hamper growth of the market.
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Some of the players operating in global market include Agfa Healthcare, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Heidelberg Engineering GmbH, Imalux Corporation, Michelson Diagnostics, Novacam Technologies Inc., OPTOPOL Technology S.A., Topcon Medical Systems Inc., Thorlabs Inc and Optovue. These companies are focusing on expanding their product portfolio by launching new technologically advanced products to acquire larger market share on a global level. For instance in June 2016, Optovue had launched AngioVue Retina, an imaging system that provides ophthalmologist with dye-less and noninvasive way to visualize blood flow in the retina. AngioVue has retained essential features of OCT for quick visualization of retinal vessels which helps retina specialist to design treatment options for patients. Moreover major players are focusing on extensive marketing of their products to acquire large customer base leading to increased market share.
Technological advancements have rapidly revolutionized ophthalmic practices in last few years. Furthermore innovations in hardware and software technologies are expected to fuel growth of the market. Future trends like high speed imaging OCT techniques and use of longer wavelength options will provide growth opportunities for market players especially in emerging markets owing to rapidly increasing population with high prevalence of diseases and rise in demand for early detection techniques.
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