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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Apr 20;52(5):2556-64. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6620. Print 2011 Apr.

High-resolution, noninvasive, two-photon fluorescence measurement of molecular concentrations in corneal tissue.

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  • 1Institute of Optics, University of Roichester, Rochester, NY, USA.



To perform high-resolution, noninvasive, calibrated measurements of the concentrations and diffusion profiles of fluorescent molecules in the live cornea after topical application to the ocular surface.


An 800-nm femtosecond laser was used to perform two-photon fluorescence (TPF) axial scanning measurements. Calibration solutions consisting of sodium fluorescein (Na-Fl; concentration range, 0.01%-2.5%) and riboflavin (concentration range, 0.0125%-0.1%) were tested in well slides, and TPF signals were assessed. Excised feline eyeballs preserved in corneal storage medium and with either intact or removed corneal epithelia were then treated with Na-Fl, riboflavin, or fluorescein dextran (Fl-d) of different molecular weight (MW) for 30 minutes. Calibrated TPF was then used immediately to measure the concentration of these molecules across the central corneal depth.


The axial resolution of our TPF system was 6 μm, and a linear relationship was observed between TPF signal and low concentrations of most fluorophores. Intact corneas treated with Na-Fl or riboflavin exhibited a detectable penetration depth of only approximately 20 μm, compared with approximately 400 to 600 μm when the epithelium was removed before fluorophore application. Peak concentrations for intact corneas were half those attained with epithelial removal. Debrided corneas treated with 2,000,000 MW Fl-d showed a half-maximum penetration depth of 156.7 μm compared with 384 μm for the 3,000 MW dextran. The peak concentration of the high MW dextran was one quarter that of the lower MW dextran.


TPF is an effective, high-resolution, noninvasive method of quantifying the diffusion and concentration of fluorescent molecules across the cornea.

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