With this application we request funds from the ORD Shared Equipment Evaluation Program (SHEEP) to purchase a new generation Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) unit with OCT- angiography (OCT-A) capabilities. Specifically, we seek to obtain a Heidelberg Engineering Spectralis Tracking OCT System - HRA+OCT w/OCT2 ? MultiColor and Heidelberg Engineering Widefield Imaging Module. This instrument will be shared among investigators within the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss (CPTVL). The rationale for our purchase is twofold. First, our current OCT, a Heidelberg Engineering HRA-OCT is becoming outdated and cannot be upgraded to a newer OCT-A mode. Second, the new version of the Spectralis HRA-OCT instrument offers several scientific advantages over the older version, which include the ability to image retinal vasculature without the need to inject dye into the animal. The investigators that are submitting this proposal are all investigators within the Iowa City VA Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss. All investigators are interested in discovering the causes of various forms of visual loss and developing new treatments for visual loss to help affected Veterans. The research portfolio of investigators within with proposal is diverse with respect to visual loss. These include radiation-induced retinal damage, glaucoma, visual loss related to traumatic brain injury, mitochondrial dysfunction, retinal complications of diabetes, outer retinal visual loss, image analysis of retinal diseases and corneal damage and dysfunction. Thus, acquisition of a Heidelberg Spectralis HRA+OCT with OCT-A and Multicolor analysis will enhance the ability of investigators at the Iowa City VA to determine the causes of visual loss in mice through retinal imaging. This instrument will also integrate seamlessly with our multi-disciplinary image analysis team, which will allow us to extract a maximum amount of information from each animal subject.
The central objective of VA research is to improve the health of Veterans. The research programs of the Iowa City VA are among the best in the country and are known for long-standing excellence and achievement. Our research portfolio within the Iowa City VA Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss is diverse, and will benefit from the acquisition of a Heidelberg Engineering Spectralis Tracking OCT System - HRA+OCT w/OCT2 ? MultiColor and Heidelberg Engineering Widefield Imaging Module Analysis of visual structure and perfusion in vivo is an important part of vision research. With the new capabilities that this instrument provides, we will be able to better understand visual disease, the relationship between function, structure and perfusion, and also the response to treatment. Developing algorithms for analysis using experimental models will also help to build informative algorithms for analysis of Veteran patient eye scans, which will have a direct benefit on Veterans healthcare. This instrument will not merely maintain OCT imaging capabilities at the Iowa City VA. Rather, this cutting edge technology will help to ensure that we remain leaders in vision research, and at the forefront of research to improve Veteran's health.