Spectral Signatures in the Different Layers of the Human Eyelid by Photoacoustic Imaging

Ulf, Dahlstrand, Rafi, Sheikh, Johanna, Berggren, Jenny, Hult, John, Albinsson, Magnus, Cinthio, Malin, Malmsjö

Lasers in Surgery and Medicine |

Background and Objectives: The eyelids are susceptible to a number of skin cancers, which are challenging to excise radically without sacrificing excessive healthy tissue. Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is an emerging non-invasive biomedical imaging modality that could potentially be used for intraoperative micrographic control of the surgical margins of eyelid tumors. In this study, non-cancerous human eyelid tissue was characterized using PA as a first step in the development of this technique. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Twelve full-thickness samples from nine patients were analyzed ex vivo using PA imaging. Two-dimensional PA images were acquired using 59 wavelengths in the range of 680–970 nm to obtain the spectral signatures of the skin, orbicularis oculi muscle, and the tarsal plate. Three-dimensional images were obtained by scanning the tissues using a linear stepping motor. Spectral unmixing was performed to visualize the chromophore distribution. Results: The resulting PA spectra could be used to differentiate between the orbicularis oculi muscle and the other two structures (P < 0.05). The signals from the skin and the tarsal plate were more similar in appearance, probably due to similarities in their molecular composition. Spectral unmixing provided a clear visualization of the overall architecture of the eyelids. Conclusions: PA imaging can be used to differentiate between the orbicularis oculi muscle and the eyelid skin and tarsal plate. The main structures of human eyelids could be visualized in three dimensions using PA imaging. This technique could potentially be used to examine eyelid tumors intraoperatively in the future. However, further studies on tumors in vivo are needed before considering such clinical use.