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First Gradient-index (GRIN)-endoscopic Images from the Sub-arachnoidal Space of the Optic Nerve

Sens F. M., Killer H. E., Meyer P.,
Universität Basel, Kantonsspital, Augenklinik (Basel)

Purpose: Endoscopy is a well known examination method in ophthalmology. Due to the excellent image quality and the small outer diameter of the GRIN-(gradient index)-endoscopetip we examined the subarachnoidal space of the optic nerve by endoscope to get information about a possible application of this method.
Methods: Endoscopic examinations were performed with a GRIN (gradient index)-endoscope of Volpi, Schlieren, Switzerland, with outer diameter of 0,89 mm, integrated optic of 0,5 mm diameter and an integrated fluid channel of 0,2 mm diameter. 7 optic nerves of deceased patients were examined by endoscope from the chiasm to the bulbar region of the optic nerve behind the globe. All optic nerves were later examined by histology.
Results: The examinations of all nervi optici with the GRIN-endoscope were technically easy to perform. The subarachnoidal space could be viewed by the endoscope. An accurate examination of the subarachnoidal space, the dura mater, arachnoidea, pia mater and other anatomical structures were possible.
Conclusions: Excellent images were obtained with a gradient-index (GRIN)-endoscope out of the subarachnoidal space of the optic nerve. The anatomical structures could be examined by endoscope at close up distances. Further examinations should be performed to get more information about this method and a possible use in vivo.