Purpose: Thickness measurements by confocal microscopy in conscious human subjects may be liable to error as a result of instability of the eye or instrument. Our aim was to evaluate a technique which was expected to be less sensitive to such problems.
Method: Thickness of corneal epithelium was determined from oblique confocal sections through cornea. A contact lens of known thickness worn by subjects was used to calibrate images.
Results: There were two layers in images which could have corresponded to the stromal/epithelial interface. The mean result in each subject ranged from 38 to 53 microm using the more superficial layer and 46 to 60 microm using the deeper one. The smaller values gave the distance between the epithelial surface and the sub-epithelial nerve plexus and thus seemed to correspond to epithelial thickness.
Conclusions: Measurements of epithelial thickness by our new method are comparable with results of earlier studies.