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K. K. Bizheva, C. Hyun, N. Hutchings, T. Simpson; In-vivo, Visualization of Corneal, Limbal and Conjuctival Morphology With High Speed, Ultrahigh Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5676.
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To develop and test the ability of ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography (UHROCT) to image non-invasively fine morphological details in the corneal, conjunctival (bulbar and tarsal) and limbal tissue.
A high speed, UHROCT, operating in the 1µm wavelength region was developed for high resolution 3D imaging of the anterior segment of the human eye. The system is based on spectral domain technology and provides ~3µm OCT axial resolution in biological tissue, data acquisition rate of 47,000 A-scans /sec and sensitivity of ~101dB for 1.3 mW power of the imaging beam. Two- and three-dimensional UHROCT images of the cornea, the conjunctiva (bulbar and tarsal) and the limbus were obtained from healthy subjects under normal conditions. An automatic segmentation algorithm was developed and applied to the corneal imaging data for precise evaluation of the individual corneal layer thickness.
High resolution 2D and 3D tomograms acquired with the UHROCT system from the human cornea allow for visualization, identification, automatic segmentation and thickness evaluation of all corneal layers. Images acquired from the upper eye lid reveal morphological details that correlate well with the gland and duct structure (meibomian glands) as seen in typical histological cross-sections. 3D images of the limbus and conjunctiva reveal (among other things) an intricate network of blood and lymph vessels, as well as clear delineation of the epithelial layer that thickens in transitioning from corneal to conjunctival epithelium.
We have demonstrated the capability of UHROCT to rapidly image in-vivo fine morphological features in human corneal, limbal and conjunctival tissue. This technology has great potential for more thorough characterization of the structure and function of the normal and pathological ocular surface.
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