Journal of Biomedical OpticsUsage of polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography for investigation of collagen cross-linking
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To investigate morphological alternation in corneal stroma induced by collagen cross-linking (CXL) treatment, polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) capable of providing scattering, phase retardation, and degree of polarization uniformity (DOPU) images were employed on fresh bovine cornea. Significant corneal thickness reduction was observed after the CXL procedure, and its variation was quantitatively analyzed. From the scattering contrast, a hyperscattering region was observed in the anterior of the cornea immediately after the CXL procedure and its range increased with time. Within the scattering region, a slow increase was observed in the phase retardation image, and a discriminable characteristic was found in the DOPU image. A global threshold value was empirically determined from the averaged DOPU depth profile in order to locate the effective cross-linking depth. In addition to the standard protocol, an accelerated CXL procedure shortening the treatment time with higher intensity of ultraviolet-A (UV-)A power was also performed. From the measurement results after the two different CXL protocols, different cross-linking aspects were found and their difference was discussed in terms of the effectiveness of cross-linking. Based on this study, we believe that PS-OCT could be a promising optical imaging modality to evaluate the progression and effectiveness of the riboflavin/UV-A induced corneal collagen cross-linking.