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Journal Français d'Ophtalmologie
Volume 41, n° 9
pages e395-e406 (novembre 2018)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jfo.2018.09.003
Received : 7 September 2018 ;  accepted : 12 September 2018
Editor's choice

In vivo confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography as innovative tools for the diagnosis of limbal stem cell deficiency
 

N. Banayan a, C. Georgeon a, K. Grieve b, D. Ghoubay a, b, F. Baudouin b, V. Borderie a, b,
a Service d’ophtalmologie 5, Centre hospitalier national d’ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, 28, rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris cedex 12, France 
b Inserm UMR S 968, Sorbonne université, CHNO des 15–20, institut de la Vision, 75012 Paris, France 

Corresponding author. Service 5, Centre hospitalier national d’ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, 28, rue de Charenton, 75571 Paris cedex 12, France.Service 5, Centre hospitalier national d’ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts28, rue de CharentonParis cedex 1275571France
Summary

The limbus is the anatomical and functional barrier between the corneal and conjunctival epithelia. It is characterized by the presence of the limbal stem cell niche, which allows corneal homeostasis to be maintained. Limbal stem cell deficiency is characterized by a dual process: insufficient regeneration of corneal epithelium, which cannot therefore assure its function of physiological support, associated with corneal invasion by conjunctival proliferation. Diagnosis is currently made via routine clinical examination, corneal impression cytology and in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM). Slit lamp examination shows abnormal limbal anatomy, thin and irregular epithelium with late fluorescein staining, and superficial vascularization. With its high resolution, IVCM allows identification of limbal and corneal epithelial changes at a cellular level in en face views parallel to the corneal surface, but with a restricted viewing field of the corneal surface. It shows a poor transition between the corneal and conjunctival epithelia, associated with a loss of the normal corneal epithelial stratification, low basal cell and sub-basal nerve plexus densities, and subepithelial fibrosis. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography of the central cornea and limbus, with scans in variable orientations, allows a quick, global and non-invasive analysis of normal eyes and those with limbal stem cell deficiency. It shows a thin limbal epithelium, lacking normal thickening, featuring absence of stromal undulations and limbal crypts in cross-sections and sections parallel to the limbus, lack of visible limbal crypts in en face sections, loss of clear transition between the hyporeflective corneal epithelium and the hyperreflective conjunctival epithelium, and hyperreflective subepithelial fibrosis. The limbus is the anatomical and functional barrier between the corneal and conjunctival epithelia. It is characterized by the presence of the limbal stem cell niche, which allows corneal homeostasis to be maintained. Limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) is characterized by a dual process: insufficient regeneration of corneal epithelium, which cannot therefore assure its function of physiological support, associated with corneal invasion by conjunctival proliferation.

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Keywords : Limbus, Limbal stem cell deficiency, Optical Coherence Tomography, In vivo confocal microscopy




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