Walking into eyes using VR | Wellcome Image Awards 2017 (long version)


It’s like becoming part of a movie. You can show to the patient
what diseases are. You are dreaming about worlds
you have entered. I was always impressed by the
architecture of the eyes. I’m Peter Maloca, I work here at Moorfields Eye Hospital
as a research fellow for medical retina. I did a lot of histology,
so you cut tissue and you have two-dimensional
imaging of the sections, but you can do that only once. Quite often you lose information when
you look at two-dimensional images. and I wanted always to touch
these images with my eyes. So my motivation was then to
change the situation from 2D to 3D, and now we have it. We can not only look at it,
but we can walk through it. Optical coherence tomography
is a new imaging technology, that uses laser light. The patient doesn’t feel anything
and it’s extremely detailed, so we are now on
a level of microns. The patient puts his chin
on a chin rest, then the camera is
moved to the eye, there’s a fixation target
he has to look at – it’s a blinking light, but the laser normally is a
little red line scanning the eye, but not disturbing the patient. The result is then a
cross-sectional image of the posterior part of the eye
– the retina. You obtain then 3D stacks and these 3D stacks represent a
new kind of imaging of your eye. and this is absolutely amazing. The potential of VR in medical
science is communication. We can now have an arena
where different parties can join. I could show the data in a VR arena and invite my friend from
New York or from Paris, and get advice from people who
are much brighter than we are, for the benefit of the patient. For students or for patients, it is much
easier because they encounter an eye from inside, like
they’re walking in the mountains and then you can explain
the situation to a patient and the understanding
is very intuitive. because you are part
of that information. The models themselves, apart
from being exquisitely beautiful, have helped us conceptualize
the anatomy in ways we couldn’t with traditional 2D atlases. And with the techniques that
Peter has been using we can really now start to understand
the structures of the eyes and help understand the
importance of them, both in research and for
clinical applications. What we did is not
the work of one person. And so I’m really so proud
of the team we have, from art, from computer
science, from anatomy, so winning the Wellcome Image Award
means more than anything else to me. It’s not only for me,
but for my team. And for me it’s a recognition
of sharing a passion for the beauty of
the human body. And the hope is that we
understand disease much better, by better imaging.

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