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Brecken J. Blackburn, Shi Gu, Matthew R. Ford, Vinícius de Stefano, Michael W. Jenkins, William J. Dupps, Andrew M. Rollins; Noninvasive Assessment of Corneal Crosslinking With Phase-Decorrelation Optical Coherence Tomography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(1):41-51. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25535.
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There is strong evidence that abnormalities in corneal biomechanical play a causal role in corneal ectasias, such as keratoconus. Additionally, corneal crosslinking (CXL) treatment, which halts progression of keratoconus, directly appeals to corneal biomechanics. However, existing methods of corneal biomechanical assessment have various drawbacks: dependence on IOP, long acquisition times, or limited resolution. Here, we present a method that may avoid these limitations by using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to detect the endogenous random motion within the cornea, which can be associated with stromal crosslinking.
Phase-decorrelation OCT (PhD-OCT), based in the theory of dynamic light scattering, is a method to spatially resolve endogenous random motion by calculating the decorrelation rate, Γ, of the temporally evolving complex-valued OCT signal. PhD-OCT images of ex vivo porcine globes were recorded during CXL and control protocols. In addition, human patients were imaged with PhD-OCT using a clinical OCT system.
In both the porcine cornea and the human cornea, crosslinking results in a reduction of Γ (P < 0.0001), indicating more crosslinks. This effect was repeatable in ex vivo porcine corneas (change in average Γ = −41.55 ± 9.64%, n = 5) and not seen after sham treatments (change in average Γ = 2.83 ± 12.56%, n = 5). No dependence of PhD-OCT on IOP was found, and correctable effects were caused by variations in signal-to-noise ratio, hydration, and motion.
PhD-OCT may be a useful and readily translatable tool for investigating biomechanical properties of the cornea and for enhancing the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
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