A newly designed high-resolution imaging system used to study the retinal structure of live birds of prey has been unveiled.
In a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers revealed unprecedented three-dimensional information about the retina of four species of raptors using the non-invasive, powerful imaging tool.
During the study, the research team used the new spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) system to test its potential for vision research in birds of prey and found that the resulting images showed detailed retinal anatomy that is not widely known, such as the retina layers and the structure of the deep and shallow foveae.
Dr Robert Knighton, retired research professor at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, said that previous anatomical studies of raptor foveae required examination of the retina with a microscope, limiting the number of birds that could be studied.
He explained: "One can imagine that obtaining data with an SD-OCT scanner could become a routine procedure at the many bird observatories in the world."
by Adrian Galbreth