Three-dimensional confocal microscopy of the living eye is a major development in instrumentation for biomicroscopy of the eye. This noninvasive optical technology has its roots in the application of optics to reflected light imaging of the eye. These instrument developments began with Leeuwenhoek's use of his single lens microscope to investigate the structure of the eye. There followed a series of connected instruments: the ophthalmoscope, the slit lamp, the specular microscope, and the clinical confocal microscope. In vivo confocal microscopy produces high contrast, reflected light images or optical sections through the depth of living ocular tissue. Stacks of registered optical sections can be transformed by computer visualization techniques into three-dimensional volume images of ocular tissues: cornea, ocular lens, retina, and optic nerve. The clinical confocal microscope has resulted in new diagnostic techniques and new cellular descriptions of ocular disorders and pathology.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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