The demand for ophthalmological services is extremely high in Germany. Looking at the total population, the proportion of people who consult an ophthalmologist at least once a year was approximately 26% (Grobe, 2016). The demographic change will further increase the need for ophthalmic care in the coming years. In addition, there is a clearly limited technological diagnostic spectrum available, especially for ophthalmologists in rural areas.
A common age-related eye disease is glaucoma, which can lead to retinal damage or even blindness. A change in the optic nerve head, the so-called papilla, is an important indication of this clinical picture. For the examination of the papilla, a subjective assessment of the physician is usually carried out on the basis of a 2D image. Only in ophthalmic centers, an adequate diagnosis and control can be carried out using 3D data and measurements in the case of abnormalities with large devices. With such a long diagnostic chain, valuable therapy time is lost.
The Department of Electrophysiological Engineering at the TU Ilmenau in cooperation with the Raytrix GmbH in Kiel, 2D and 3D data of the anatomical structures of the retina are to be obtained using the light field principle, also known as the plenoptic principle. This is done for all pixels simultaneously with only one image. Since the use of complex laser and scanning units can be dispensed with the new technology, the result is a compact, portable, flexible in use plenophthalmoscope. A significantly increase of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ophthalmological health care can be expected.