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Cornea:
doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182a15cee
Basic Investigation

In Vivo Three-Dimensional Corneal Epithelium Imaging in Normal Eyes by Anterior-Segment Optical Coherence Tomography: A Clinical Reference Study

Kanellopoulos, Anastasios John MD*,†; Asimellis, George PhD*

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the safety and efficacy of real-time measurement of corneal epithelial thickness and investigate the distribution characteristics in a large normal-eye population using a clinically available spectral-domain anterior-segment optical coherence tomography (AS OCT) system.

Methods:

Corneal epithelial thickness distribution and topographic thickness variability were clinically investigated using AS OCT imaging in 373 patients with normal, healthy eyes. Descriptive statistics investigated 3 sets of subgroups, male (n = 171) and female (n = 202), younger (n = 194) and older (n = 179), right eyes (n = 195) and left eyes (n = 197).

Results:

Pupil center epithelial thickness repeatability was an average 0.88 ± 0.71 μm; a similar repeatability was noted for the superior, inferior, maximum, and minimum epithelial thickness. On average, the pupil center epithelial thickness was 53.28 ± 3.34 μm, superior 51.86 ± 3.78 μm, inferior 53.81 ± 3.44 μm, minimum 48.65 ± 4.54 μm, maximum 56.35 ± 3.80 μm, and topographic variability was 1.78 ± 0.78 μm. Small differences were noted between male (average center 54.10 ± 3.34 μm) and female (52.58 ± 3.19 μm) subjects. The topographic thickness variability seems to increase with age: younger group, 1.65 ± 0.83 μm; older group, 1.93 ± 0.90 μm (P = 0.173).

Conclusions:

We present a comprehensive investigation of corneal epithelial thickness distribution characteristics in a healthy, untreated human eye population by using in vivo, clinically available Fourier-domain AS OCT. The 3-dimensional epithelial maps reveal epithelial nonuniformity and provide a novel benchmark for future and comparative studies.

Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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