Optimal visual perception and detection of oral cavity neoplasia

Urs Utzinger, Michael Bueeler, Sanghoon Oh, Douglas L. Heintzelman, Ekaterina S. Svistun, Muhammad Abd-El-Barr, Ann Gillenwater, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The most common way to detect disease is by visual inspection of the suspect tissue. However, the human eye is not optimized for this task because the perceived spectrum of light is divided into three channels, all of which have overlapping spectral sensitivity curves. Here, we present new methods to optimize visually perceived contrast based on spectral differences between normal and abnormal tissue. We apply these methods to the perception of fluorescence emission from the oral cavity. Abnormalities in the oral cavity are optimally perceived when the excitation is between 420-440 nm. To optimally visualize fluorescence at 340-nm excitation, the emission should be observed through a blue bandpass filter transmitting light at 430 nm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-399
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Autofluorescence
  • Color difference
  • Diagnosis
  • Ideal observer
  • Oral cavity
  • Visual system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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