In vivo confocal microscopy of the ocular surface

Ocul Surf. 2006 Apr;4(2):81-93. doi: 10.1016/s1542-0124(12)70030-7.


Over the past two decades, the applications of in vivo confocal microscopy to the investigation of ocular surface diseases in the living eye have been greatly extended. Confocal microscopy enables detailed investigation of tarsal and palpebral conjunctiva, central and peripheral cornea, tear film, and lids, and it allows evaluation of the ocular surface at the cellular level. High-quality imaging in both contact and noncontact modes has allowed new understanding of the functions of the ocular surface system, and in the coming years, such knowledge will become increasingly comprehensive and specific. Confocal microscopy may provide a link between well-established ex vivo histology and in vivo study of ocular pathology, not only in clinical science but also in clinical practice. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge about in vivo confocal microscopy of the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conjunctiva / cytology*
  • Cornea / cytology*
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eyelids / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*