Diagnosis and management of conjunctival and corneal intraepithelial neoplasia using ultra high-resolution optical coherence tomography

Ophthalmology. 2011 Aug;118(8):1531-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.01.005. Epub 2011 Apr 20.


Purpose: To report a novel diagnostic technique and a case series of conjunctival and corneal intraepithelial neoplasia (CCIN) diagnosed and followed up using prototype ultra high-resolution (UHR) optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Design: Prospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.

Participants: Seven eyes of 7 consecutive patients with CCIN treated using topical interferon alfa-2b or 5-fluorouracil and 7 eyes of 6 consecutive patients with history of surgically excised pterygia.

Intervention: Ultra high-resolution OCT imaging of the ocular surface at primary diagnosis of CCIN and during the follow-up period until resolution of the lesion. Ultra high-resolution OCT images of sites of excised pterygia also were captured and compared with images from resolved CCIN patients.

Main outcome measures: Clinical course and photographs, UHR OCT images, and histopathologic findings.

Results: Ultra high-resolution OCT was capable of providing a noninvasive optical biopsy of all examined CCIN lesions. Ultra high-resolution OCT images of the lesions disclosed a thickened hyperreflective epithelium and abrupt transition from normal to hyperreflective epithelium in all 7 cases. Ultra high-resolution OCT images showed excellent correlation with histopathologic specimens obtained at primary diagnosis of the cases that had incisional biopsies before treatment. All patients were treated medically and were followed up for clinical resolution. In 4 patients, at clinical resolution, UHR OCT images also showed normal epithelial configuration at the site of the treated lesions. In 3 patients, despite apparent clinical resolution, the UHR OCT was able to detect residual disease that was clinically invisible. Continuation of treatment resulted in complete resolution of the residual lesions on the UHR OCT images in all cases. Ultra high-resolution OCT images of patients with surgically excised pterygia demonstrated similar findings to resolved CCIN cases.

Conclusions: Ultra high-resolution OCT is a novel noninvasive technique to diagnose and manage medically treated CCIN. Using UHR OCT to guide medical treatment could prevent the premature termination of topical treatment in the presence of subclinical disease. A larger sample size is needed for further validation of its sensitivity and specificity.

Financial disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / drug therapy
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Corneal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Eye Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Eye Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pterygium / surgery
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Fluorouracil