Corneal confocal microscopy is a novel clinical technique for the study of corneal cellular structure it provides images which are comparable to in vitro histochemical techniques delineating corneal epithelium bowmans layer stroma descemets membrane and the corneal endothelium. In vivo confocal microscopy is therefore particularly useful in the areas of infective keratitis corneal dystrophies refractive surgery and contact lens wear where it aids in differential diagnosis and detection of subtle short and long term changes real time endothelial cell assessment can also be performed. In vivo confocal microscopy techniques have been applied to a variety of ocular structures most notably the cornea 6 10 morphologic features of the normal cornea have been reported for several species including birds cats dogs humans guinea pigs mice nonhuman primates pigs rabbits and rats 11 19 the objectives of the present study . 12 endogenous contrast darkfield confocal imaging of the living cornea early confocal microscopy systems employed white light and tandem spinning discs to illuminate and collect light from a sample while modern confocal systems use slit scanning white light or point scanning laser configurations
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