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First Experience with High-resolution Infrared-thermo-topography of the Ocular Surface

1Beutelspacher S. C., 2Krastel H., 3Döppner J., 1Becker M.,
1Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Universitäts-Augenklinik, Interdisziplinäres Uveitis-Zentrum (Heidelberg)
2Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Universitäts-Augenklinik (Heidelberg)
3InfraTec GmbH (Dresden)

Background: The differential diagnosis of diseases of the anterior segment is often a challange. The pattern of thermal distribution of the ocular surface may provide important hints in diagnosing processes in the anterior wall of the eye.
Methods: The high resolution, color-encoded VarioTHERM infraredthermography system (Jenoptic LOS GmbH) offers a thermal resolution up to 0,01° in a huge measuring corridor. Using this system we evaluated the anterior thermograms of three patients, one with anterior uveitis and two post-cataract surgery and compared them to normal persons. We measured the thermal gradient, mean temperature and extreme points of temperature distribution.
Results: Normal persons had no difference in temperature between both eyes. The thermal gradient showed a difference of 1,6°C and the maximum at 36,41°C. Patients one day after cataract surgery showed a enlarged thermal gradient of 2,89°C with a shifted thermal maximum at 35,3°C probably due to dilation of the pupil. The patient with anterior uveitis showed a thermal ring over the ciliary body with a thermal maximum at 38,06°C and a gradient of 2,76°C.
Conclusions: First data using this thermotopography system show that it is a suitable, non-invasive, non-contact method for the detection of subtle differences in thermal distribution of the anterior segment. These results encourage us to study a larger number of patients with different inflammatory or neoplastic pathological processes, to gain more insights in thermal distribution patterns which could help in the differential diagnosis of anterior segment diseases.