In vivo volumetric imaging of the human corneo-scleral limbus with spectral domain OCT

Biomed Opt Express. 2011 Jul 1;2(7):1794-02. doi: 10.1364/BOE.2.001794. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


The limbus is the structurally rich transitional region of tissue between the cornea on one side, and the sclera and conjunctiva on the other. This zone, among other things, contains nerves passing to the cornea, blood and lymph vasculature for oxygen and nutrient delivery and for waste, CO(2) removal and drainage of the aqueous humour. In addition, the limbus contains stem cells responsible for the existence and healing of the corneal epithelium. Here we present 3D images of the healthy human limbus, acquired in vivo with a spectral domain optical coherence tomography system operating at 1060nm. Cross-sectional and volumetric images were acquired from temporal and nasal locations in the human limbus with ~3µm x 18µm (axial x lateral) resolution in biological tissue at the rate of 92,000 A-scans/s. The imaging enabled detailed mapping of the corneo-scleral tissue morphology, and visualization of structural details such as the Vogt palisades, the blood and lymph vasculature including the Schlemm's canal and the trabecular meshwork, as well as corneal nerve fiber bundles. Non-invasive, volumetric, high resolution imaging reveals fine details of the normal human limbal structure, and promises to provide invaluable information about its changes in health and disease as well as during and after corneal surgery.

Keywords: (170.0110) Imaging systems; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (170.4470) Ophthalmology; (170.4500) Optical coherence tomography.