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Anterior segment optical coherence tomography and ultrasound biomicroscopy for measuring thickness of corneal and bulbar conjunctival tumours
  1. Noémie Lauwers1,
  2. Katleen Janssens1,
  3. Michelle Mertens1,
  4. Danny Mathysen1,
  5. Martin Lammens1,
  6. Rob J W de Keizer1,2,
  7. Veva De Groot1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
  2. 2Ophthalmology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Noémie Lauwers, Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Anwerp, Edegem, Belgium; noemie.lauwers{at}


Background/Objective Anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) and ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) are two non-invasive imaging techniques used for the measurement of tumour thickness in corneal and bulbar conjunctival tumours. Histopathology (HP), however, remains the gold standard for the measurement of tumour thickness. The aim of this study was to determine whether AS-OCT and UBM are as accurate as HP for measuring tumour thickness.

Methods Forty-two corneal and bulbar conjunctival tumours were imaged using AS-OCT and UBM. Images were assessed and tumour thickness was measured. Eleven patients subsequently underwent surgical excision. All specimens were measured during histopathological analysis. The correlation of the thickness measurement on HP to AS-OCT and UBM was then statistically analysed. In cases where the tumour was not excised, thickness measurement comparisons between AS-OCT and UBM were analysed.

Results AS-OCT and UBM measurements of tumour thickness were found to be significantly positively correlated (p=<0.001), as were UBM and HP thickness measurements (p=0.031). HP and AS-OCT measurements, however, only showed a mild but non-significant positive correlation.

Conclusion Both AS-OCT and UBM are useful techniques to image and measure the thickness of corneal and conjunctival bulbar tumours. While AS-OCT provides better details than UBM, it was more limited in visualising the posterior boundary of the tumour, particularly in malignant tumours. While thickness measurements of both methodologies were correlated, neither should yet be considered as replacements to the gold standard of HP.

  • conjunctiva
  • cornea
  • neoplasia
  • pathology
  • imaging

Statistics from


  • KJ and MM contributed equally.

  • Contributors Conception or design of the work: NL, RJWdK, VDG. Data collection: NL, KJ, MM. Data analysis and interpretation: KJ, MM, DM, ML. Drafting the article: NL, KJ, MM. Critical revision of the article: NL, RJWdK, VDG, Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill. Final approval of the version to be published: NL, RJWdK, VDG.

  • Funding This work was supported by the MOCA (Multidisciplinair Oncologisch Centrum Antwerpen) (onderzoeksbeurs translationeel onderzoek 2013).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical committee University Hospital of Antwerp (B300201316598).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request to the main author via email

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