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April 4, 1980

Microscopic scrutiny reveals condition of cornea

JAMA. 1980;243(13):1320-1321. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300390008003

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A new wide-field specular microscope is helping New York researchers evaluate risks of eye surgery beforehand and determine the quality of donated corneas before transplantation.

Calvin W. Roberts, MD, Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, says the instrument is based on principles and equipment developed by David Maurice, PhD, now at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Speaking to a Research to Prevent Blindness seminar in Los Angeles, Roberts explained the instrument this way:

Light that strikes the junction of two surfaces that are clear but different in refractive power, such as the eye's corneal endothelium and the aqueous humor, creates an image by reflection (in this case, of the endothelial cells, which are clear and cannot be seen directly). This principle has been used in ophthalmologic diagnoses, but the small viewing field has been an inherent limitation.

The new microscope, designed by Charles J. Koester, PhD, has a viewing field 20