This week at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO) meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, researchers present promising data on a new instrument that provides imaging similar to confocal microscopy, but with two significant benefits: a non-contact application and a wider field of view.

After imaging three healthy subjects with a new instrument based on full-field optical coherence tomography (FFOCT), the researchers were able to view the
in vivo corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, sub-basal nerve plexus (SNP), stromal keratocytes, stromal nerves, Descemet’s membrane (DM) and endothelial cells within the nuclei. The new tool also provided a 1.3mm field of view compared with a 0.33mm view usually obtained with confocal microscopy.

"FFOCT examination of the corneas of three healthy subjects revealed cells, nuclei and nerves with sizes and shapes matching those visible with the confocal microscope,” according to the researchers’ ARVO abstract. “At the same time, a non-contact nature and a wide viewing area of FFOCT presented significant advantages over the confocal microscopy in terms of patient comfort and clinical value. This makes the future implementation of FFOCT in clinical studies remarkably promising.”

“This new technology—full-field OCT—provides exquisite en-face images the cornea without making corneal contact,” says Joseph Shovlin, OD, of Scranton, PA. “In addition, a widefield image is obtained with cellular detail comparable to what’s gained with confocal microscopy. Similar to the tremendous acceptance of OCT imaging, full-field OCT may soon be readily available to clinicians in practice.”

Mazlin V, Xiao P, Grieve K, et al. A novel non-contact instrument for en face cellular resolution imaging of in vivo human cornea based on full-field OCT. ARVO 2018. Abstract 3437.