OSA's Digital Library

Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express

  • Editor: Joseph A. Izatt
  • Vol. 2, Iss. 7 — Jul. 1, 2011
  • pp: 1794–1802

In vivo volumetric imaging of the human corneo-scleral limbus with spectral domain OCT

Kostadinka Bizheva, Natalie Hutchings, Luigina Sorbara, Alireza A. Moayed, and Trefford Simpson  »View Author Affiliations

Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 2, Issue 7, pp. 1794-1802 (2011)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1615 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The limbus is the structurally rich transitional region of tissue between the cornea on one side, and the sclera and conjunctiva on the other. This zone, among other things, contains nerves passing to the cornea, blood and lymph vasculature for oxygen and nutrient delivery and for waste, CO2 removal and drainage of the aqueous humour. In addition, the limbus contains stem cells responsible for the existence and healing of the corneal epithelium. Here we present 3D images of the healthy human limbus, acquired in vivo with a spectral domain optical coherence tomography system operating at 1060nm. Cross-sectional and volumetric images were acquired from temporal and nasal locations in the human limbus with ~3µm x 18µm (axial x lateral) resolution in biological tissue at the rate of 92,000 A-scans/s. The imaging enabled detailed mapping of the corneo-scleral tissue morphology, and visualization of structural details such as the Vogt palisades, the blood and lymph vasculature including the Schlemm’s canal and the trabecular meshwork, as well as corneal nerve fiber bundles. Non-invasive, volumetric, high resolution imaging reveals fine details of the normal human limbal structure, and promises to provide invaluable information about its changes in health and disease as well as during and after corneal surgery.

© 2011 OSA

OCIS Codes
(170.0110) Medical optics and biotechnology : Imaging systems
(170.3880) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical and biological imaging
(170.4470) Medical optics and biotechnology : Ophthalmology
(170.4500) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical coherence tomography

ToC Category:
Ophthalmology Applications

Original Manuscript: March 7, 2011
Revised Manuscript: May 27, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: May 31, 2011
Published: June 1, 2011

Kostadinka Bizheva, Natalie Hutchings, Luigina Sorbara, Alireza A. Moayed, and Trefford Simpson, "In vivo volumetric imaging of the human corneo-scleral limbus with spectral domain OCT," Biomed. Opt. Express 2, 1794-1802 (2011)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. D. M. Maurice, “The structure and transparency of the cornea,” J. Physiol. 136(2), 263–286 (1957). [PubMed]
  2. K. M. Meek and N. J. Fullwood, “Corneal and scleral collagens--a microscopist’s perspective,” Micron 32(3), 261–272 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. E. B. Papas, “The limbal vasculature,” Cont. Lens Anterior Eye 26(2), 71–76 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. J. G. Lawrenson and G. L. Ruskell, “The structure of corpuscular nerve endings in the limbal conjunctiva of the human eye,” J. Anat. 177, 75–84 (1991). [PubMed]
  5. J. G. Lawrenson and G. L. Ruskell, “Investigation of limbal touch sensitivity using a Cochet-Bonnet aesthesiometer,” Br. J. Ophthalmol. 77(6), 339–343 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. D. J. Spalton, R. A. Hitchings, and P. A. Hunter, Clinical Ophthalmology (Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1984).
  7. A. J. Bron, “Vortex patterns of the corneal epithelium,” Trans. Ophthalmol. Soc. U. K. 93(0), 455–472 (1973). [PubMed]
  8. M. F. Goldberg and A. J. Bron, “Limbal palisades of Vogt,” Trans. Am. Ophthalmol. Soc. 80, 155–171 (1982). [PubMed]
  9. W. M. Townsend, “The limbal palisades of Vogt,” Trans. Am. Ophthalmol. Soc. 89, 721–756 (1991). [PubMed]
  10. H. S. Dua and A. Azuara-Blanco, “Limbal stem cells of the corneal epithelium,” Surv. Ophthalmol. 44(5), 415–425 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. D. V. Patel, T. Sherwin, and C. N. McGhee, “Laser scanning in vivo confocal microscopy of the normal human corneoscleral limbus,” Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 47(7), 2823–2827 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. P. B. Thomas, Y. H. Liu, F. F. Zhuang, S. Selvam, S. W. Song, R. E. Smith, M. D. Trousdale, and S. C. Yiu, “Identification of Notch-1 expression in the limbal basal epithelium,” Mol. Vis. 13, 337–344 (2007). [PubMed]
  13. L. Oliveira-Soto and N. Efron, “Morphology of corneal nerves using confocal microscopy,” Cornea 20(4), 374–384 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. D. Huang, E. A. Swanson, C. P. Lin, J. S. Schuman, W. G. Stinson, W. Chang, M. R. Hee, T. Flotte, K. Gregory, C. A. Puliafito, and J. G. Fujimoto, “Optical coherence tomography,” Science 254(5035), 1178–1181 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. A. F. Fercher, “Optical coherence tomograohy,” J. Biomed. Opt. 1(2), 157–999 (1996). [CrossRef]
  16. V. Christopoulos, L. Kagemann, G. Wollstein, H. Ishikawa, M. L. Gabriele, M. Wojtkowski, V. Srinivasan, J. G. Fujimoto, J. S. Duker, D. K. Dhaliwal, and J. S. Schuman, “In vivo corneal high-speed, ultra high-resolution optical coherence tomography,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 125(8), 1027–1035 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. M. V. Sarunic, S. Asrani, and J. A. Izatt, “Imaging the ocular anterior segment with real-time, full-range Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography,” Arch. Ophthalmol. 126(4), 537–542 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. J. Jungwirth, B. Baumann, M. Pircher, E. Götzinger, and C. K. Hitzenberger, “Extended in vivo anterior eye-segment imaging with full-range complex spectral domain optical coherence tomography,” J. Biomed. Opt. 14(5), 050501 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. M. Gora, K. Karnowski, M. Szkulmowski, B. J. Kaluzny, R. Huber, A. Kowalczyk, and M. Wojtkowski, “Ultra high-speed swept source OCT imaging of the anterior segment of human eye at 200 kHz with adjustable imaging range,” Opt. Express 17(17), 14880–14894 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. Y. Feng and T. L. Simpson, “Comparison of human central cornea and limbus in vivo using optical coherence tomography,” Optom. Vis. Sci. 82(5), 416–419 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. M. Singh, T. Aung, D. S. Friedman, C. Zheng, P. J. Foster, W. P. Nolan, J. L. See, S. D. Smith, and P. T. K. Chew, “Anterior segment optical coherence tomography imaging of trabeculectomy blebs before and after laser suture lysis,” Am. J. Ophthalmol. 143(5), 873–875 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. T. Theelen, P. Wesseling, J. E. E. Keunen, and B. J. Klevering, “A pilot study on slit lamp-adapted optical coherence tomography imaging of trabeculectomy filtering blebs,” Graefes Arch. Clin. Exp. Ophthalmol. 245(6), 877–882 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. L. Kagemann, G. Wollstein, H. Ishikawa, R. A. Bilonick, P. M. Brennen, L. S. Folio, M. L. Gabriele, and J. S. Schuman, “Identification and assessment of Schlemm’s canal by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography,” Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 51(8), 4054–4059 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. A. Miyazawa, M. Yamanari, S. Makita, M. Miura, K. Kawana, K. Iwaya, H. Goto, and Y. Yasuno, “Tissue discrimination in anterior eye using three optical parameters obtained by polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography,” Opt. Express 17(20), 17426–17440 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. N. Hutchings, T. L. Simpson, C. Hyun, A. A. Moayed, S. Hariri, L. Sorbara, and K. Bizheva, “Swelling of the human cornea revealed by high-speed, ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography,” Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 51(9), 4579–4584 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  26. Y. Wang, J. Nelson, Z. Chen, B. Reiser, R. Chuck, and R. Windeler, “Optimal wavelength for ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography,” Opt. Express 11(12), 1411–1417 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  27. “Anatomy of the human eye,” http://www.images.missionforvisionusa.org/anatomy/2005/10/cornea-histology.html .
  28. http://www.bu.edu/histology/p/08005loa.htm , Reproduced with permission from Prof. Deborah W. Vaughan.
  29. T. Tervo and A. Palkama, “Ultrastructure of the corneal nerves after fixation with potassium permanganate,” Anat. Rec. 190(4), 851–859 (1978). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

Supplementary Material

» Media 1: MOV (4686 KB)     
» Media 2: MOV (4223 KB)     

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited