Rupp+Hubrach Science Prize 2020
Heidelberg, 22 June 2020. I am glad to share the news that today my Master thesis (“Infrared-light visibility threshold measured in diabetic and healthy patients using a two-photon ophthalmoscope”) was awarded the R+H Wissenschaftspreis 2020 by the R+H jury.
For international readers, this is an annual Prize for science papers in the optical and ophthalmic field, which is supported by Rupp + Hubrach: headquartered in Bamberg, it is a well-known company in Germany for spectacle lens manufacture. (Due to the Corona restrictions, the award ceremony date is not yet fixed.)
Here is the abstract of my thesis.
Title: Infrared-light visibility threshold measured in diabetic and healthy patients using a two-photon ophthalmoscope.
Author: Asu Rayamajhi
Objective: The mechanism of the two-photon absorption by photoreceptors and their visual pigment chromophore isomerization lays the ground for a better understanding of how infrared light (IR) triggers color perception in an unaided eye. The association between retinal disease and expected changes in IR-light sensitivity has yet to be investigated, though. This study aimed to measure and compare scotopic eye sensitivity of healthy and diabetic-retinopathy patients using a two-photon ophthalmoscope.
Method: This research was carried out at the Ophthalmology Department of the Heidelberg University Hospital. Among 69 included eyes, 28 were healthy, and 41 were diabetic. All participants underwent a comprehensive eye exam, including visual acuity (VA) and contrast sensitivity tests, optical coherence tomography, and slit-lamp examination. The IR threshold was measured following 30-min dark-adaptation with a Goldman II size stimulus and the method of adjustment. We used the two-photon ophthalmoscope with integrated pulsed laser light (1045nm) for sensitivity assessment and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy for fundus imaging.
Results: The mean age of diabetic patients (61.2 ±12.7 years) and the control group (56.2 ±15.7 years) was not statistically significant (P=.15). The mean logMAR VA of diabetic patients (0.12 ±0.17) was worse than in the healthy group (-0.04 ±0.08), which was significantly different (P<.001). Furthermore, the contrast sensitivity of the diabetic patients was lower than that of the healthy group, especially at 6 and 18 cycles/degree. A statistically significant (P=.04) difference was found in the mean retinal thickness between the diabetic patients (300.0 ±50.0 μm) and the healthy group (277.1 ±19.5 μm). The mean retinal sensitivity to IR light in diabetic patients (11.6 ±2.1 dB) was significantly (P<.001) lower than in the healthy group (15.5 ±1.3 dB).
Conclusion: We confirmed that the infrared threshold could be successfully measured in a clinical setting. The IR light sensitivity of diabetic patients was significantly impaired as compared to healthy subjects. The two-photon ophthalmoscope can be used in the assessment of patients with retinal disease.
I sincerely thank Prof. Gerd Auffarth and Dr. Greg Łabuz for believing in me and giving me a precious opportunity to work in this project with a friendly team: as a family member in the family. Their advice and guardianship helped me to widen this project from various perspectives.
I would also like to acknowledge Prof. Dr. Andreas Holschbach’s positive and encouraging approach regarding this thesis and throughout my study; he is my supervisor at the Aalen University (Hochschule Aalen), where I started my optometry studies.
I feel lucky, blessed, grateful, and happy to work in this project and have a mentor and supervisor like Greg. Thank you for inspiring me.
Many thanks to all my colleagues for helping me, your friendliness and warm working environment.