Medical Endoscope Camera Light Source Options

Medical Endoscope Camera Light Source Options

29 Nov 20214 min readMike Anderson
LED light source for medical endoscope camera assembly LED light source for medical endoscope camera assembly

Lights. Camera. Action.

We have all seen Pink Floyd’s iconic album cover for the Dark Side of the Moon where a single line enters a prism from the left side and exits the right side as a rainbow of colors. This image evidences the triangular prism dispersing a beam of white light into a spectrum of colors.

In our blog Endoscope Camera: Medical Imaging Camera Quality we discussed the challenges associated with determining the factors associated with identifying the right camera sensor and resolution for your endoscope needs.

In this blog we are going to discuss illuminating the area that you will see through your endoscopic camera.

What are my endoscope lighting options?

In most cases, there are two means by which medical camera illumination occurs:

1. LED (Light-Emitting Diode)

2. Fiber, or more commonly known as fiber optic lighting

Differences between single use endoscope and reusable endoscope

The FDA classifies a reusable medical device and single use medical device as follows:

Reusable: “Reusable medical devices are devices that health care providers can reprocess and reuse on multiple patients.”

Single-use: “A single-use device, also referred to as a disposable device, intended for use on one patient during a single procedure. It is not intended to be reprocessed (cleaned, disinfected/sterilized) and used on another patient.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

LED (Light-Emitting Diode) Endoscope


• An LED is a self-contained component of a device build.

• Size – modern LEDs are extremely small, commonly compared to a fleck of pepper.

• Mounted to and powered by either flex circuit or wire.

• LEDs typically reside at the distal end or tip of the device, they require very little power, thus there is little impact on bend tolerance

• Where the LED is mounted at the distal end of the device, there is little to no impact on mechanical functionality.


• Size – yes, size is a benefit and limitation. The size of modern LED’s can cause issues in handling and assembly.

• The LED will generate a certain amount of heat, you will need to validate the exact LED for your device and use case.

Fiber Optic Endoscope


• The extremely small size fibers can fill voids enabling maximization of limited space.

• Fibers can be coated to add strength.

• Temperature resistance.

• With minimum bend radii restrictions, fibers do not impact tight tolerances.


• The fiber does not power or illuminate itself. Fiber optics require a source of illumination. This source could be incorporated into the endoscope (Such as an LED), or it could be driven by a piece of capital equipment external to the device.

• Fibers require special tooling as part of the manufacturing process.

• Mounted to and powered by either flex circuit or wire.

• Fibers are fragile and require sensitivity during handling, assembly, and manufacturing.

Controlling The Endoscope Light Source

Regardless of the lighting modality you choose, light adjustment, brightness, and targeting (wide vs narrow aggregate picture) are all specifications you can determine and adjust during the development process of your device, in conjunction with the interconnection between the endoscope camera and the computer control unit (CCU).

Additional Resources

Whether you determine Fiber Optics or LED is your preferred method of illumination, early in the development process you need to determine how you are going to power the light.

The PREVOYANCE® ( camera assembly mounts the LED via a patented straddle mount methodology known as Chip-On-Tip®.

You have the option to drive power to the LED directly from a wire originating in the handle of the device.

If you determine Fiber Optics is the best means of illumination, you will need to determine if you want to have the light source that is either internal or external to your device.

A hybrid approach to lighting a disposable medical camera may be to have an LED located somewhere in the device driving light through fibers to illuminate the tip.

Knowing your options will enable you to make better informed decisions, enabling your ability to succeed.

To learn more about our approach to medical imaging, please download our eBook.