Ophthalmic magnetic resonance imaging: where are we (heading to)?


  • T. Niendorf
  • J.W.M. Beenakker
  • S. Langner
  • K. Erb-Eigner
  • M. Bach Cuadra
  • E. Beller
  • J.M. Millward
  • T.M. Niendorf
  • O. Stachs


  • Current Eye Research


  • Curr Eye Res 46 (9): 1251-1270


  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the eye and orbit (MReye) is a cross-domain research field, combining (bio)physics, (bio)engineering, physiology, data sciences and ophthalmology. A growing number of reports document technical innovations of MReye and promote their application in preclinical research and clinical science. Realizing the progress and promises, this review outlines current trends in MReye. Examples of MReye strategies and their clinical relevance are demonstrated. Frontier applications in ocular oncology, refractive surgery, ocular muscle disorders and orbital inflammation are presented and their implications for explorations into ophthalmic diseases are provided. Substantial progress in anatomically detailed, high-spatial resolution MReye of the eye, orbit and optic nerve is demonstrated. Recent developments in MReye of ocular tumors are explored, and its value for personalized eye models derived from machine learning in the treatment planning of uveal melanoma and evaluation of retinoblastoma is highlighted. The potential of MReye for monitoring drug distribution and for improving treatment management and the assessment of individual responses is discussed. To open a window into the eye and into (patho)physiological processes that in the past have been largely inaccessible, advances in MReye at ultrahigh magnetic field strengths are discussed. A concluding section ventures a glance beyond the horizon and explores future directions of MReye across multiple scales, including in vivo electrolyte mapping of sodium and other nuclei. This review underscores the need for the (bio)medical imaging and ophthalmic communities to expand efforts to find solutions to the remaining unsolved problems and technical obstacles of MReye, with the objective to transfer methodological advancements driven by MR physics into genuine clinical value.