Optical imaging is an emerging non-invasive technology that enables detailed and more precise assessment of tissues, organs and even molecules. Optical imaging uses visible light and photons to obtain exhaustive images of tissues and organs as well as smaller structures such as cells and molecules. Compared to other imaging technologies such as X-ray and MRI, which use ionizing radiation for obtaining images; optical imaging proved to be much safer and efficient. Optical imaging has also been observed to be of great potential for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Optical imaging uses various colors and spectra of light in order to measure and perceive the varied properties of a tissue or an organ, simultaneously. However, other imaging technologies are restricted to just few measurements. Although, optical imaging technology is in the early phase of development, they offer a wide range of technological advantages (such as multi-applicability and non-invasiveness) over existing imaging technologies.
Based on technologies, optical imaging market is segmented as follows:
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
- Diffuse optical tomography (DOT)
- Super-resolution microscopy
- Photoacoustic imaging
- Terahertz tomography
- Hyperspectral imaging
- Raman spectroscopy
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Optical imaging technologies have immense scope of application; some of the areas of application are as follows:
- Drug development
In terms of geography, North America closely followed by Europe is the leader in optical imaging market owing to the rising geriatric population and high adoption rate. The elderly population has grown radically around the world. According to the WHO, population above 65 years has grown the highest. This population is expected to rise from 13% in 2010 to 53% by 2020. Another report published by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that, the number of people above 65 years to every 100 people of the working age is expected to increase greatly from 22 in 2010 to almost 35 in 2020. This huge base of elderly population would also face various ophthalmologic, neurologic and dermatologic complications; which would alternatively drive the demand for advance imaging diagnostic technologies. Moreover, owing to the remarkable economic development and rising incidence of diseases such as cancer and diabetic retinopathy; other regions such as Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America are also expected to be the potential markets in the near future.
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The key factors contributing to the growth of the optical imaging market are high demand for radiation free imaging modalities; and rising incidence of neurological as well as ophthalmologic disorders. Moreover, ability to provide in-depth images of components of eyes; mucosal membranes, surface tissues, vascular systems and gastrointestinal tract are also driving the growth of the overall optical imaging market. Furthermore, colossal application scope of the advance optical imaging products; operator and patient safety as well as patient comfort are also some factors that are driving the growth of the optical imaging market. However, market restraining factors such as high installation and development cost coupled with stringent reimbursement policies might impede the growth of the optical imaging market.
Some of the major companies involved with the optical imaging market are ASE Optics Inc., Bioptigen Inc., Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, ChemImage Corporation, Cytoviva Inc., Headwall Photonics Inc., Heidelberg Engineering GmBH, Michelson Diagnostics, Optical Imaging Ltd., Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies, PerkinElmer Inc., Somanetics Corporation, St. Jude Medical Inc., Topcon Medical Systems Inc. and Volcano Corporation.
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