Three-dimensional modeling of the human eye based on magnetic resonance imaging

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PURPOSE. A methodology for noninvasively characterizing the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of the complete human eye is not currently available for research into ocular diseases that have a structural substrate, such as myopia. A novel application of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisition and analysis technique is presented that, for the first time, allows the 3-D shape of the eye to be investigated fully. METHODS. The technique involves the acquisition of a T2-weighted MRI, which is optimized to reveal the fluid-filled chambers of the eye. Automatic segmentation and meshing algorithms generate a 3-D surface model, which can be shaded with morphologic parameters such as distance from the posterior corneal pole and deviation from sphericity. Full details of the method are illustrated with data from 14 eyes of seven individuals. The spatial accuracy of the calculated models is demonstrated by comparing the MRI-derived axial lengths with values measured in the same eyes using interferometry. RESULTS. The color-coded eye models showed substantial variation in the absolute size of the 14 eyes. Variations in the sphericity of the eyes were also evident, with some appearing approximately spherical whereas others were clearly oblate and one was slightly prolate. Nasal-temporal asymmetries were noted in some subjects. CONCLUSIONS. The MRI acquisition and analysis technique allows a novel way of examining 3-D ocular shape. The ability to stratify and analyze eye shape, ocular volume, and sphericity will further extend the understanding of which specific biometric parameters predispose emmetropic children subsequently to develop myopia. Copyright © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2272-2279
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

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  • three-dimensional shape
  • human eye
  • ocular diseases
  • structural substrate
  • myopia
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI


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