This curious marriage of an imaging technique dedicated to glaucoma diagnosis and a device developed by innovative academic researchers gave rise to a brilliant tool that made direct histological-like examination of the cornea possible, not only the central cornea as with previous devices, but the entire ocular surface.
Infectious diseases, corneal dystrophies, dry eye and many other disorders have now become accessible. Direct cell examination is possible at unbelievable resolutions, close to 1 µm, so that individual goblet cells, dendritic or polymorphonuclear cells can be counted and subcellular elements identified.
However, despite its major advantages, this technique has remained somewhat restricted because it is time-consuming and requires highly skilled operators.
At the same time, OCT began revolutionising the imaging domain based on research throughout the world that has concentrated on developing this tool to make retinal structures easily, rapidly and noninvasively accessible to clinicians and researchers for the first time. The technique improved step by step, and superb devices with impressive resolution and incredibly short examination times became available.
Almost every two years a new, even greater machine is introduced on the market, and the competition is fierce, pushing companies to improve their techniques and extend the device’s indications and applications. Imaging the cornea and anterior segment has clearly advanced in this race for the technological grail.