OCT reaches cellular resolution – MERLIN results got published

We are happy to announce that the joint-article submitted by the entire MERLIN consortium has been published in Scientific Reports last week.

This paper covers more than 3 years of collaborative work for developing a novel retinal imaging instrument. As a peer-reviewed publication, it establishes the multi-modal and multi-scale retinal imaging capabilities of the Merlin device, and in particular, the applicability of cellular-level OCT imaging in clinical settings.



The H2020 MERLIN project is now closed, but the adventure still continues.

Imagine Eyes is further advancing the imaging device towards commercialization. Meanwhile, ophthalmologists at Paris Quinze-Vingts Hospital and Copenhagen Rigshospitalet implement MERLIN’s technology as a tool for accelerating the development of new therapies for sight-threatening retinal diseases. First clinical case reports were presented at ARVO 2022 (see previous news).


Article reference: Shirazi, M. F., Andilla, J., Lefaudeux, N. et al. (2022). Multi-modal and multi-scale clinical retinal imaging system with pupil and retinal tracking. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 9577. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-13631-1

Final project report available

A summary of the achievements of the MERLIN consortium during the total project period is available on the European Comission “CORDIS” platform.

Click here to access it (english only)

Clinical cases with MERLIN presented at ARVO 2022

At the ARVO 2022 annual meeting, in Denver on May 2nd, Dr Kiyoko Gocho presented the first results of the pilot clinical investigation in the MERLIN project.

During the lecture, she showed extraordinary images that provided multimodal information on the retina at different scales, including three-dimensional cellular-resolution images, all acquired with the MERLIN device. The series of clinical cases covered a wide range of pathologies – inherited retinal diseases, AMD, diabetic retinopathy, serous detachment, arterial hypertension – demonstrating the applicability of the imaging device to clinical settings.

Pilot investigation of multimodal and multiscale retinal imaging technology developed by a trans-European multidisciplinary consortium

Kiyoko Gocho, INSERM and Quinze-Vingts National Eye Hospital
May 2, 2022, in Session : Advances in high resolution imaging

The replay is available until June 30, 2022 on the virtual ARVO 2022 platform.

Results in Brief published by European Commission

The European Commission “CORDIS” platform has published a summary of the context and realizations of the MERLIN project.

Click here to access it (available in several languages)

H2020 MERLIN project celebrates successful final review

We are happy to announce the successful completion of our Horizon 2020 MERLIN project. We received a very positive evaluation from the European Commission last week after presenting the technical and clinical results of the new retinal imaging technology developed by MERLIN’s partners.

We take this opportunity to thank our advisors throughout the world for their extremely valuable contributions over the last 4 years. We are also grateful to the European Commission for supporting MERLIN and to reviewers for their constructive feedback.

The project has delivered retinal imaging prototypes that are now being tested at two medical centers. These systems combine several technologies, including optical coherence tomography OCT) and adaptive optics (AO), to visualize the retina at different scales with multiple modalities. For the first time, doctors can directly examine cells in three dimensions at the back of the eye.

After MERLIN, the adventure continues.

Imagine Eyes is further advancing the imaging device towards commercialization. Meanwhile, for ophthalmologists at Paris Quinze-Vingts Hospital and Copenhagen Rigshospitalet, the next step is to implement MERLIN’s technology as a tool for accelerating the development of new therapies for sight-threatening retinal diseases.

Beyond ophthalmology, the SHIVA project is poised to explore applications in neurology. To do so, SHIVA partners will further develop MERLIN’s-OCT angiography technology and investigate retinal microcirculation in dementia and cognitive decline with an unprecedented level of detail. The goal is to better prevent and treat major causes of neurological disability.


MERLIN results to be presented at ICOOR 2021

The 9th International Congress on OCT and OCT Angiography – ICOOR 2021 meeting – will be held in Rome on Dec 17-18.

Michael Pircher and Nicolas Chateau will present MERLIN project outcomes. Their lectures will introduce the clinical-prototype developed by the consortium, which delivers multimodal information on the retina at different scales, including three-dimensional cellular-resolution images.

Challenges in adaptive optics OCT imaging

Micheal Pircher, Medical University of Vienna
Oct. 17 at 14:59 CET, ICOOR hall, in Session : Advances in imaging technology

Multimodal and multiscale retinal imaging with cellular-resolution OCT/OCTA

Nicolas Chateau, Imagine Eyes
Oct. 17 at 17:15 CET, Belle Arti hall, in Free papers: Imaging

More than 170 subjects examined with MERLIN

MERLIN clincial protoypes were installed at Quinze-Vingts National Eye Hospital in Paris in December 2020, and Rigshopitaltet in Copenhagen in January 2021. Since then, clinicians have used it to examine the back of the eye of 177 subjects.

The performance of the device, in terms of image quality and ergonomy, was confirmed on 35 healthy volunteers as well as 142 patients with various pathologies : age-related macular degeneration, inherited retinal diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and other retinal diseases.

In these patients, MERLIN images provided unprecedented details of retinal changes – at the level of single photoreceptor cells and capillary blood vessels.


Merlin images from a patient with diabetes, having a solitary aneurism (blue arrow). Large field images (top) enable to locate the AO-SLO images (bottom) that show details of the changes in capillary vessels and underlying photoreceptor cells. Courtesy of Rigshospitalet, Denmark.


Merlin images from a patient with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), dry type. Large field OCT show the atrophic retina (bright parts). AO-SLO and AO-OCT images reveal microscopic details of the border of the atrophy. Courtesy of Quinze-Vingts Hospital, France.

MERLIN project at i2Eye 2021 online meeting

The fourth Autumn Course on Innovative Imaging in Eye Disease – i2Eye 2021 – organized jointly by the PARIS Eye Imaging group, the Vision Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh, will be held online on Oct 13-15 2021.

This year again, ophthalmologists, physicists and biologists will address the latest advances in ocular imaging, how they help understand diseases and improve clinical care.

Partners of the MERLIN project will introduce the novel multimodal multiscale imaging device, and they will present first clinical results:

Multimodal clinical imaging with MERLIN

Kiyoko Gocho, Quinze-Vingts Hospital Paris
Oct 13th, 10:30am EST – in Session 1: Photoreceptors

Multi-modal and multi-scale clinical retinal imaging system with angiography

Faizan Shirazi, Medical University of Vienna
Oct 15th, 9:40am EST – in Session 6: Novel Technology

Click here to see the i2eye 2021 program and to access the registration page
Registration is free and opened until October 8th 2021.

MERLIN project implements active retinal tracking

The MERLIN team recently integrated a new active retinal tracking technology (ARTT) in several multimodal retinal imaging prototypes.

During retinal examinations, the natural movements of patients’ eyes have detrimental effects on the quality of retinal images. Distortion artifacts induced by eye motion are particularly pronounced in tomographic scans acquired with a high optical magnification. The purpose of ARTT is to neutralize these effects.

With MERLIN’s ARTT, the position of the laser beam that scans the retina is continuously corrected for any movement of the eye. This active compensation is driven by fast measurements of retinal displacements using a secondary laser beam. As a result, the system delivers high-magnification tomographic images without motion distortion (see image below).

Two MERLIN prototypes equipped with the new ARTT are now under clinical testing at Paris Quinze-Vingts Hospital and Copenhagen Rigshospitalet.

MERLIN project presented at ARVO 2021

At ARVO 2021 virtual meeting, Muhammad Faizan Shirazi presents the achievments of the MERLIN partners, including the first clinical results.

May 6, 11:15pm CEST, session “Highlights of angiographic imaging”

Multi-modal and multi-scale retinal imaging with angiography

Muhammad Faizan Shirazi, PhD

During his presentation, he shows how gold-standard retinal imaging techniques and cutting-edge adaptive optics technology were successfully combined in a single compact clinical protoype. He will reveal images from patient’s eyes that confirm the performance of the instrument, including cellular resolution in 3 dimensions.

> click here to see the presentation <