Imaging has become indispensable in the diagnosis and management of diseases in the posterior part of the eye. In recent years, imaging techniques for the anterior segment are also gaining importance and are nowadays routinely used in clinical practice. Ocular surface disease is often synonymous with dry eye disease, but also refers to other conditions of the ocular surface, such as Meibomian gland dysfunction or keratitis and conjunctivitis with different underlying causes, i.e., allergies or infections. Therefore, correct differential diagnosis and treatment of ocular surface diseases is crucial, for which imaging can be a helpful tool. A variety of imaging techniques have been introduced to study the ocular surface, such as anterior segment optical coherence tomography, in vivo confocal microscopy, or non-contact meibography. The present review provides an overview on how these techniques can be used in the diagnosis and management of ocular surface disease and compares them to clinical standard methods such as slit lamp examination or staining of the cornea or conjunctiva. Although being more cost-intensive in the short term, in the long term, the use of ocular imaging can lead to more individualized diagnoses and treatment decisions, which in turn are beneficial for affected patients as well as for the healthcare system. In addition, imaging is more objective and provides good documentation, leading to an improvement in patient follow-up and education.

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PubMed