Purpose. To determine the optical coherence tomographic (OCT) characteristics of normal corneas and to characterize the OCT images of abnormal corneal lesions. Methods. Eleven eyes from 10 patients were examined at the Cornea Service of the Nagoya University Hospital: 4 had corneal pathologies, 4 underwent keratoplasty, and 2 were normal controls; 1 enucleated eye was also examined. OCT (OCT 2000 Zeiss-Humphrey) was used to study the normal cornea and various corneal abnormalities. We compared the OCT images to the observations made by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. Results. Fluid spaces were detected as black images. A highly reflective reflex was observed at the interface of different tissues, and intensive backscattering (reflex) was seen when the incident ray hit the laminated layers vertically. Corneal opacities were not clearly imaged when they were diffuse and mild, or when they were arranged axially in a small area, as was the scar of the graft-host junction. It was possible to obtain images from the region of the cornea that was not clearly visible by slit-lamp examination because of a corneal opacity. Conclusion. OCT is a noncontact and noninvasive technique that can be performed safely on diseased corneas. OCT can provide objective documentation of corneal disorders that cannot be obtained by slit-lamp examination. The use of OCT in conjunction with other conventional instruments should provide a more complete image of the cornea.
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