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Ho Sik Hwang, Se Hoon Han, Hyo Kyoung Lee, Kyung Eun Han, Min Chul Shin, Man Soo Kim; Visualization of Corneal Nerve Distribution by 3D Optical Coherence Tomography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):2462.
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By a confocal microscope, we can get images of corneal subbasal nerve plexus or stromal nerves. But, the examination area is too small and it is a contact method and gives discomfortness to patients. In this research we will present possibility of visualization of human corneal nerve distribution in vivo using 3D optical coherence tomography (OCT)
For 28 healthy subjects, we performed 3D scan 2 mm x 2 mm area at the center and mid-periphery of cornea using RTVue OCT. After 3D scan, we made 3D reconstruction and got en face images according to its depth. RTVue OCT produce en face image with respect to curvature parallel with epithelial surface. We determined slice thickness of en face image as 31 μm.
In the epithelial layer, some structures like intraepithelial nerve terminals were found. Beneath the epithelial layer, subbasal nerve plexus or subepithelial nerve plexus were observed. In the mid stroma, some nerve fibers thicker than the others were found. Throughout the stroma, some main stromal bundles were observed. Their mean diameter was about 20 μm.
We could visualize the corneal nerves including intraepithelial nerve terminals, subbasal nerve plexus, subepithelial nerve plexus, stromal nerves and main stromal bundles were observed using 3D OCT system. For present resolution and scanning speed of OCT, they are not satisfactory images. If the hardware and reconstruction software develop enough later, chances are it can be used for corneal nerve visualization.
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