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René M. Werkmeister, Aneesh Alex, Semira Kaya, Angelika Unterhuber, Bernd Hofer, Jasmin Riedl, Michael Bronhagl, Martin Vietauer, Doreen Schmidl, Tilman Schmoll, Gerhard Garhöfer, Wolfgang Drexler, Rainer A. Leitgeb, Martin Groeschl, Leopold Schmetterer; Measurement of Tear Film Thickness Using Ultrahigh-Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(8):5578-5583. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11920.
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To visualize the precorneal tear film with ultrahigh-resolution spectral domain optical coherence tomography, enabling quantification of tear film thickness in healthy subjects.
A custom-built spectral domain optical coherence tomography system comprising a broadband titanium:sapphire laser operating at 800 nm and a high-speed charge coupled device (CCD) camera with a read-out rate of 47 kHz was used for measurement of precorneal tear film thickness. The system provides a theoretical axial resolution of 1.2 μm in tissue. The signal-to-noise ratio close to the zero delay was measured with 94 dB. A total of 26 healthy subjects were included in this study. Measurement was started immediately after blinking and averaged over a period of 1 second. In a subset of eight healthy subjects, the reproducibility of the approach was studied by measuring the tear film thickness every 10 minutes over 1 hour.
The average central tear film thickness of the measured population was 4.79 ± 0.88 μm. Reproducibility was very high, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.97. A breakup of the tear film was observed in one subject after 14 seconds.
Our data indicate that the human precorneal tear film can be measured with excellent reproducibility using ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography. This technique may be a valuable tool in the management of dry eye syndrome. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01746602.)
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