For over a hundred years, the otoscope has been the standard tool for ear examination. It’s basically a penlight and a magnifying glass. There has been no way to see beyond the eardrum into the middle ear without making an incision in the eardrum. Care providers have had no choice but to make subjective diagnoses based largely on the appearance of the eardrum, resulting in misdiagnoses of up to 50%. In the search for a solution, there has never been a method to visually assess the markers of infection in the middle ear.
Optical Coherence Tomography is an established non-invasive imaging technology similar to ultrasound, except that it uses near-infrared light waves instead of sound waves to provide 3-D views inside living tissue. Resolutions are 10+ times higher than ultrasound. Photos courtesy of the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In ophthalmology, OCT is the gold standard for examining the retina. The problem: OCT is housed in large desktop systems that aren’t suitable for ear exams.
PhotoniCare has re-engineered OCT so that it fits in a hand-held device that allows physicians to see into the middle ear, at last.
Harmless near-infrared light provides unprecedented visualization.
Our device gives physicians new, quantitative clinical markers, including the presence of bacterial biofilm (linked to the need for tube surgery), purulent effusion (pus), eardrum thickness, and conditions that could cause hearing loss such as cholesteatoma. The result: an instantaneous and reliable diagnosis. Photos courtesy of the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Clinical data: potential to revolutionize otitis media diagnosis, treatment.
The PhotoniCare technology platform is built on a foundation of clinical research and peer-reviewed studies in subject areas ranging the applications of OCT to the link between biofilms and middle ear infection requiring tube surgery. A complete list of studies is available upon request.