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Can J Ophthalmol. 2019 Aug;54(4):431-437. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2018.09.007. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Novel application of anterior segment optical coherence tomography for periocular imaging.

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MUHC-McGill University Ocular Pathology and Translational Research Laboratory. Electronic address:
MUHC-McGill University Ocular Pathology and Translational Research Laboratory.
Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Que.
Ophthalmology Department, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



This study aims to assess the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging for periocular skin lesions and to determine which characteristic features of these images can be correlated to histopathology.


This is an ongoing prospective study with Research Ethics Board approval.


Fifty patients over 18 years old with lesions clinically suspicious of nonmelanoma skin cancer on the periocular region were included in this study.


After consent was obtained, clinical photographs and dermatoscopic images were obtained (DermLite II Hybrid M) from the lesion and its contralateral side. Subsequently, the patient was subjected to OCT imaging using the anterior segment module of a spectral domain OCT (Optovue Avanti) and images of the contralateral skin were also obtained. Surgical excision of the lesion was performed and sent for histopathological examination as per routine treatment. OCT images were then correlated to their matching digitalized histopathology section (Philips Ultra Fast Scanner 1.6 RA).


Based on the OCT images acquired from 50 patients, 8 predominant architectural features have been correlated to histopathology: hyperkeratosis, acanthosis, loss of dermal-epidermal junction delineation, hyporeflective tumour nests, cystic structures, "bunch of grapes" nodules, hyperreflective nests, and ulcerations. Results observed from 45 malignant lesions (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and sebaceous gland carcinoma) suggest that groups of features and their layout within the same OCT image may be associated to specific tumour characteristics.


Current data suggest that anterior-segment OCT imaging is a noninvasive imaging modality for periocular lesions and may be a valuable tool to help differentiate between some tumour types before a biopsy is performed.


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