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Non-invasive in vivo measurement of the tear film using spatial autocorrelation in a live mammal model

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Tear film stability and its interaction with the corneal surface play an important role in maintaining ocular surface integrity and quality of vision. We present a non-invasive technique to quantify the pre-corneal tear film thickness. A cMOS camera is used to record the interference pattern produced by the reflections from multiple layers of the tear film Principles of spatial autocorrelation are applied to extract the frequency of the periodic patterns in the images. A mathematical model is developed to obtain the thickness of the tear film from the spatial autocorrelation image. The technique is validated using micro-fabricated thin parylene films. We obtained repeatable and precise measurement on a live rabbit model (N = 6). We obtained an average value of 10.2µm and standard deviation of, SD = 0.3 (N = 4). We measured one rabbit infected with HSV-1 virus that had a baseline tear film thickness of 4.7µm.

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