Specular Microscopy: A Quick Translatable Snapshot in Ocular Research
July 5, 2012 - Specular microscopy allows for the noninvasive, in vivo evaluation of the corneal endothelium, a monolayer of cells responsible for the maintenance of water balance within the corneal stroma. Damage to this layer can rapidly result in corneal edema and a corresponding visual deficit due to reduced refractive power. Drugs that are administered topically to the eye, as well as drugs that are administered intracamerally, and even intravitreally, have the potential to affect this layer of cells.
A specular microscope quickly provides quantitative data on the number, density, shape and size of corneal endothelial cells, delivering a snapshot of the endothelial layer, which can be affected by ophthalmic drugs. It also measures corneal thickness, which can be correlated with the endothelial cell data. As the same instrumentation is used for humans, the data generated in preclinical studies has potential translatability in the clinic.
Corneal cross section showing the endothelial monolayer.
Below is an image of data obtained from an anesthetized animal. Pleomorphism refers to the change in distribution of normal 6-sided hex-shaped cells. Polymegathism refers to the change from uniform cell sizes to variable cell sizes. Scan time is only 2 seconds.
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