Optical coherence tomography: A review of clinical development from bench to bedside

Adam M. Zysk, Freddy T. Nguyen, Amy L. Oldenburg, Daniel L. Marks, Stephen A. Boppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

481 Scopus citations


Since its introduction, optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology has advanced from the laboratory bench to the clinic and back again. Arising from the fields of low coherence interferometry and optical time- and frequency-domain reflectometry, OCT was initially demonstrated for retinal imaging and followed a unique path to commercialization for clinical use. Concurrently, significant technological advances were brought about from within the research community, including improved laser sources, beam delivery instruments, and detection schemes. While many of these technologies improved retinal imaging, they also allowed for the application of OCT to many new clinical areas. As a result, OCT has been clinically demonstrated in a diverse set of medical and surgical specialties, including gastroenterology, dermatology, cardiology, and oncology, among others. The lessons learned in the clinic are currently spurring a new set of advances in the laboratory that will again expand the clinical use of OCT by adding molecular sensitivity, improving image quality, and increasing acquisition speeds. This continuous cycle of laboratory development and clinical application has allowed the OCT technology to grow at a rapid rate and represents a unique model for the translation of biomedical optics to the patient bedside. This work presents a brief history of OCT development, reviews current clinical applications, discusses some clinical translation challenges, and reviews laboratory developments poised for future clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number051403
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical imaging
  • Clinical translation
  • Optical coherence tomography


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