Guthoff R.F., Zhivov A., Stachs O.
The confocal imaging of the corneal nerve plexus – a new window to the brain
Engineering of in vivo confocal laser —scanning microscopy (CLSM) in recent years has facilitated examination of the human cornea. This high —resolution method has provided new insights on corneal nerve morphology and density in normal and pathological conditions with special emphasis on the subbasal nerve plexus (SBP). The non —invasive nature of CLSM has the advantage of enabling examination of human cornea in its physiological state, avoiding artefacts induced by ex vivo histological techniques. This imaging modality allows multiple examinations of the same cornea over the time. The in vivo technique developed by the authors and used for the corneal examination is the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph/Rostock Cornea Module (HRT/RCM).
The talk will cover the technical aspects of confocal imaging emphasizing the possibilities and limitations of SBP ex vivo and in vivo imaging. The up —to —date state of image analysis and micromorphological SBP quantification will be presented and discussed. Special attention is paid to the analysis of SBP changes in patients with diabetes, situation after refractive surgery, corneal grafting, brachytherapy as well as cross —linking.
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