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This article is the author’s final published version in Translational Vision Science and Technology, Volume 11, Issue 7, July 2022, Article number 11.

The published version is available at Copyright © Crespo et al.


Purpose: To determine the in vivo elastic modulus of the human cornea using vibrational optical coherence tomography (VOCT).

Methods: Vibrational analysis coupled with optical coherence tomography (OCT) was used to obtain the resonant frequency (RF) and elastic modulus of corneal structural components. VOCT corneal thickness values were measured using OCT images and correlated with corneal thickness determined with Pentacam (Oculus, Wetzlar, Germany). Moduli were obtained at two locations: central cornea (CC) and inferior cornea (IC). Measurements were obtained with and without anesthetic eye drops to assess their effect on the modulus measurements.

Results: VOCT thickness values correlated positively (R2 = 0.97) and linearly (y = 1.039x-16.89) with those of Pentacam. Five RF peaks (1-5) were present, although their presence was variable across eyes. The RF for peaks 1 to 5 in the CC and IC ranged from 73.5 ± 4.9 to 239 ± 3 Hz and 72.1 ± 6.3 to 238 ± 4 Hz, respectively. CC and IC moduli for peaks 1 to 5 ranged from 1.023 ± 0.104 to 6.87 ± 0.33 MPa and 0.98 ± 0.15 to 6.52 ± 0.79 MPa, respectively. Topical anesthesia did not significantly alter the modulus (P > 0.05 for all), except for peak 2 in the CC (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates the utility of VOCT as an in vivo, noninvasive technology to measure the elastic modulus in human corneas. The structural origin of these moduli is hypothesized based on previous reports, and further analyses are necessary for confirmation.

Translational relevance: This work presents VOCT as a novel approach to assess the in vivo elastic modulus of the cornea, an indicator of corneal structural integrity and health.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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