A comparative analysis on the performance of different scanning regimes in time domain optical coherence tomography is presented in terms of image size. Safety thresholds due to the different continuous irradiation time per transverse pixel in different scanning regimes are also considered. We present the maximum exposure level for a variety of scanning procedures, employing either A scanning (depth priority) or T scanning (transverse priority) when generating cross section images, en-face images or collecting 3D volumes. We present a comparison between such B-scan images, and different criteria to allow the user to choose the right mode of operation. Mainly, two criteria are detailed, a scanning criterion and a safety criterion. The scanning criterion depends on the number of pixels along the lateral and axial directions. The analysis shows that en-face scanning allows wider images while the longitudinal scanning is more suitable to deep cross sections. The safety criterion refers to safety levels to be observed in each scanning mode. We show that the flying spot OCT imaging has different safety limits for T- and A- based imaging modes. The analysis leads to maximum permissible optical power levels that favors T-scan imaging of wide objects. We then apply the analysis considering as object the eye.

© 2007 SPIE

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