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Proceedings Paper

Cornea and ocular lens visualized with three-dimensional confocal microscopy
Author(s): Barry R. Masters
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Paper Abstract

This paper demonstrates the advantages of three-dimensional reconstruction of the cornea and the ocular crystalline lens by confocal microscopy and volume rendering computer techniques. The advantages of noninvasive observation of ocular structures in living, unstained, unfixed tissue include the following: the tissue is in a natural living state without the artifacts of fixation, mechanical sectioning, and staining; the three-dimensional structure can be observed from any view point and quantitatively analyzed; the dynamics of morphological changes can be studied; and the use of confocal microscopic observation results in a reduction of the number of animals required for ocular morphometric studies. The main advantage is that the dynamic morphology of ocular structures can be investigated in living ocular tissue. A laser scanning confocal microscope was used in the reflected light mode to obtain the two- dimensional images from the cornea and the ocular lens of a freshly enucleated rabbit eye. The light source was an argon ion laser with 488 nm wavelength. The microscope objective was a Leitz 25X, NA 0.6 water immersion lens. The 400 micron thick cornea was optically sectioned into 133, three micron sections. The semi-transparent cornea and the in-situ ocular lens was visualized as high resolution, high contrast two-dimensional images. The under sampling resulted in a three-dimensional visualization rendering in which the corneal thickness (z-axis) is compressed. The structures observed in the cornea include: superficial epithelial cells and their nuclei, basal epithelial cells and their `beaded' cell borders, basal lamina, nerve plexus, nerve fibers, free nerve endings in the basal epithelial cells, nuclei of stromal keratocytes, and endothelial cells. The structures observed in the in-situ ocular lens include: lens capsule, lens epithelial cells, and individual lens fibers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 August 1992
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 1644, Ophthalmic Technologies II, (14 August 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.137414
Show Author Affiliations
Barry R. Masters, Uniformed Services Univ. of the Health Sciences (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1644:
Ophthalmic Technologies II
Jean-Marie Parel, Editor(s)

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