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Sterile Structural Imaging of Donor Cornea by Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

1Priglinger S., 1Neubauer A. S., 1Thiel M., 2May C.-A., 1Welge-Lüßen U.,
1Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Klinikum Innenstadt, Augenklinik (München)
2Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Anatomisches Institut LS II (Erlangen)

Purpose: To demonstrate a new non-contact method for sterile measurement of structure and thickness of donor cornea using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).
Methods: A commercially available OCT designed for retinal measurements was used for non-contact assessment of human corneas. Structural changes occurring during organ culture were evaluated in 29 corneas. Comparison with histology was performed and the ability of OCT to detect corneal scars and corneal thickness was investigated.
Results: Corneal epithelium, stroma and posterior curvature as well as thickness can be measured by standard OCT while the cornea remains in its storage bottle. Epithelial changes leading to a reduction of epithelial thickness, stromal structural changes and hydration folds can be visualized. OCT scans correlate well with histology. Preexisting corneal scars as well as developing corneal scars can be detected by OCT.
Conclusions: Corneal structural imaging can be performed under sterile conditions by OCT. This provides a method for improvement of corneal storage and a screening method for signs of photorefractive surgery and scarring in donor cornea.

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