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      Iris ultrastructure in patients with synechiae as revealed by in vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy : In vivo iris ultrastructure in patients with Synechiae by Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy

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          Iris plays important roles in ocular physiology and disease pathogenesis. Currently it is technically challenging to noninvasively examine the human iris ultrastructure in vivo. The purpose of the current study is to reveal human iris ultrastructure in patients with synechiae by using noninvasive in vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM).


          The ultrastructure of iris in thirty one patients, each with synechiae but transparent cornea, was examined by in vivo LSCM.


          Five characteristic iris ultrastructures was revealed in patients with synechiae by in vivo LSCM, which include: 1. tree trunk-like structure; 2. tree branch/bush-like structure; 3. Fruit-like structure; 4. Epithelioid-like structure; 5. deep structure. Pigment granules can be observed as a loose structure on the top of the arborization structure. In iris-associated diseases with Tyndall’s Phenomenon and keratic precipitates, the pigment particles are more likely to fall off from the arborization structure.


          The ultrastructure of iris in patients with synechiae has been visualized using in vivo LSCM. Five iris ultrastructures can be clearly observed, with some of the structures maybe disease-associated. The fall-off of the pigment particles may cause the Tyndall’s Phenomenon positive. In vivo LSCM provides a non-invasive approach to observe the human iris ultrastructure under certain eye disease conditions, which sets up a foundation to visualize certain iris-associated diseases in the future.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12886-016-0224-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Incidence and prevalence of uveitis in Northern California; the Northern California Epidemiology of Uveitis Study.

          To determine the incidence and prevalence of uveitis in a large, well-defined population in Northern California. Cross-sectional study using retrospective database and medical record review. A group of 2070 people within 6 Northern California medical center communities (N = 731 898) who had a potential diagnosis of uveitis. The patient database of a large health maintenance organization (2 805 443 members at time of the study) was searched for all patients who, during a 12-month period, had the potential diagnosis of uveitis. Detailed quarterly gender- and age-stratified population data were available. Medical records of patients who potentially had uveitis and who were members of the 6 target communities were reviewed by 2 uveitis subspecialists to confirm the diagnosis of uveitis and to establish time of onset. Demographic and clinical data were gathered for patients meeting the clinical definition of uveitis. Incidence rates were calculated by using a dynamic population model. Prevalence rates were based on the mid-study period population. Presence and date of onset of uveitis. At midstudy, the population for the 6 communities was 731 898. During the target period, 382 new cases of uveitis were diagnosed; 462 cases of uveitis were diagnosed before the target period. These data yielded an incidence of 52.4/100 000 person-years and a period prevalence of 115.3/100 000 persons. The incidence and prevalence of disease were lowest in pediatric age groups and were highest in patients 65 years or older (P<0.0001). The prevalence of uveitis was higher in women than in men (P<0.001), but the difference in incidence between men and women was not statistically significant. Comparison between the group of patients who had onset of uveitis before the target period (ongoing uveitis) and the entire cohort of uveitis patients showed that women had a higher prevalence of ongoing uveitis than men and that this difference was largest in the older age groups (P<0.001). In this largest population-based uveitis study in the United States to date, the incidence of uveitis was approximately 3 times that of previous U.S. estimates and increased with the increasing age of patients. Women had a higher prevalence of uveitis than men, and the largest differences were in older age groups.
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            How the confocal laser scanning microscope entered biological research.

             W AMOS,  Joe White (2003)
            A history of the early development of the confocal laser scanning microscope in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge is presented. The rapid uptake of this technology is explained by the wide use of fluorescence in the 80s. The key innovations were the scanning of the light beam over the specimen rather than vice-versa and a high magnification at the level of the detector, allowing the use of a macroscopic iris. These were followed by an achromatic all-reflective relay system, a non-confocal transmission detector and novel software for control and basic image processing. This design was commercialized successfully and has been produced and developed over 17 years, surviving challenges from alternative technologies, including solid-state scanning systems. Lessons are pointed out from the unusual nature of the original funding and research environment. Attention is drawn to the slow adoption of the instrument in diagnostic medicine, despite promising applications.
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              Clinical applications of corneal confocal microscopy

              Corneal confocal microscopy is a novel clinical technique for the study of corneal cellular structure. It provides images which are comparable to in-vitro histochemical techniques delineating corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the corneal endothelium. Because, corneal confocal microscopy is a non invasive technique for in vivo imaging of the living cornea it has huge clinical potential to investigate numerous corneal diseases. Thus far it has been used in the detection and management of pathologic and infectious conditions, corneal dystrophies and ecstasies, monitoring contact lens induced corneal changes and for pre and post surgical evaluation (PRK, LASIK and LASEK, flap evaluations and Radial Keratotomy), and penetrating keratoplasty. Most recently it has been used as a surrogate for peripheral nerve damage in a variety of peripheral neuropathies and may have potential in acting as a surrogate marker for endothelial abnormalities.

                Author and article information

                [ ]Key laboratory of ophthalmology, Shenzhen Eye Hospital, Ji-nan University, Shenzhen, 518000 P. R. China
                [ ]Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, 2000 Percival Stern Hall, 6400 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 USA
                [ ]Department of Ophthalmology, Tulane University, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-69, New Orleans, LA 70112 USA
                504 862 3163 , 504 865 6785 ,
                BMC Ophthalmol
                BMC Ophthalmol
                BMC Ophthalmology
                BioMed Central (London )
                26 April 2016
                26 April 2016
                : 16
                © Li et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, National Institutes of Health;
                Award ID: EY021862
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                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2016

                Ophthalmology & Optometry

                iris, in vivo, ultrastructure, laser scanning confocal microscopy


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