September 2023
Volume 23, Issue 11
Open Access
Optica Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   September 2023
Contributed Session II: Detecting subclinical keratoconus by mapping corneal biomechanics using wave-based optical coherence elastography
Author Affiliations
  • Fernando Zvietcovich
    "Daza de Valdes" Institute of Optics, The Spanish National Research Council - CSIC, Madrid 28006, Spain
  • Judith Birkenfeld
    "Daza de Valdes” Institute of Optics, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
  • Nicolas Alejandre-Alba
    Ophthalmology Department, Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  • Jesus Merayo
    Fernandez-Vega Institute, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.
  • Susana Marcos
    The Center of Visual Science, University of Rochester
Journal of Vision September 2023, Vol.23, 20. doi:
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      Fernando Zvietcovich, Judith Birkenfeld, Nicolas Alejandre-Alba, Jesus Merayo, Susana Marcos; Contributed Session II: Detecting subclinical keratoconus by mapping corneal biomechanics using wave-based optical coherence elastography. Journal of Vision 2023;23(11):20.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The detection of subclinical keratoconus in human corneas remains a challenging task. It is hypothesized that the focal reduction in biomechanical properties of the cornea would be the primary initiating event of keratoconus before changes in topography and pachymetry are manifested. We propose to use an air-couple ultrasonic optical coherence elastography system to map the elasticity of the corneas of 15 patients with a clinical diagnosis of keratoconus (KC) in one eye, and subclinical keratoconus (SK) in the fellow eye. The fully non-contact system excites the corneal apex to produce Lamb wave propagation and measures wave speed and average corneal thickness along 16 semi-meridians. Measurements in 30 human healthy subjects (control group: CG, N = 60 corneas) defined a baseline of normal biomechanics in two biomarkers: Spatial Anisotropy of Wave Speed (SAWS < 0.207), and the Speed-Thickness Index (STI > 0). SAWS was significantly higher in KC (0.353, p < 0.001) and SK (0.249, p < 0.001) corneas when compared to the CG. Moreover, STI maps show abnormal elasticity in SK (STI = -1.22) and KC (STI = -0.375) compared to the CG. Our results show important biomechanical differences in SAWS and STI between normal, subclinical, and advanced stages of keratoconus, suggesting those as potential biomarkers to identify “at-risk” corneas before changes in topography and pachymetry become evident.

 Funding: Funding: Horizon 2020 Framework Programme European Project Imcustomeye (H2020-ICT-2017 Ref. 779960); European Research Council (2018-ADG-SILKEYE-833106); Spanish Government10.13039/100014440 (CSIC JAE Intro Fellowship); L'Oréal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” Spain; Spanish Government Juan de la Cierva-Incorporation Fellowship (IJC2018-037508-I); Spanish Government PID2020-115191RB-I00; NIH NIE P30EY 001319; Unrestricted Funds Research to Prevent Blindness, NY

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