In order to quickly and safely portray the anterior eye segment including the lens, a new type of laser scanning microscope has been developed which is based on the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph HRT II. In order to achieve this, the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph HRT II was combined with an attachable objec tive system, the so-called Rostock Cornea Module RCM.
If in a laser scanning ophthalmoscope the refracting media of the eye (that with this device form part of the laser focussing system) are replaced by a high grade objective system, the laser focus (with a diameter of less than 1 μm) can be moved into the anterior eye segment. This results in a fast, high resolution digital confocal laser scanning microscope for in-vivo examinations of the cornea.
This procedure of cornea contacting without pressure is monitored via a small CCD color camera. The contact process guarantees a set distance between microscope and cornea. This enables an optical pachymetry. All microstructures of the cornea, including the epithelium, nerves, keratocytes and endothelium of the Conjunctiva bulbi of the eye, as well as skin, tongue and oral mucosa can be quickly and safely imaged and analyzed. For the first time ever, the depiction of dentritic cells, the so-called Langerhans’ cells, is possible in vivo.
The usage of dry objectives with this microscope in non-contact processes also enables the depiction of the natural lens and the after cataract on an IOL for the first time ever. A significant advantage with this device is its digital nature which facilitates simple data archiving. The microscope has also been used successfully in other specialized areas such as ear, nose and throat medicine and dentistry.
Prof. Dr. med. Rudolf Guthoff
Steinbeis Transfer Center Biomedical Engineering and Applied Pharmacology in the Ophthalmology (Rostock)