Intraoperative optical coherence tomography (iOCT) is a noninvasive imaging technique that gives real-time dynamic feedback on surgical procedures. iOCT was first employed in vitreoretinal surgery, but successively served as a guidance in several anterior segment surgical approaches: keratoplasty, implantable Collamer lens (ICL) implantation, and cataract surgery. Among all of those approaches, the unbeatable features of iOCT are fully exploited in anterior and posterior lamellar keratoplasty, and the purpose of this review is to focus on the advantages and shortfalls of iOCT in these techniques, in order to assess whether this technology could be a real step forward. In deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), iOCT is useful to evaluate the needle depth into the corneal stroma, the big bubble dissection plane, and residual stromal bed, thus aiding the standardization of the technique and the reduction of failures. In Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK), iOCT allowed for clear visibility of fluid at the graft/host interface, allowing for immediate rescue maneuvers and granting the best graft apposition. In Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK), iOCT can track the lenticule unfolding in real time and assess graft orientation even in severe hazy corneas, thus optimizing surgical times, as well as avoiding the use of potentially hazardous exterior markers (such as the "S" stamp) and preventing unnecessary manipulation of the graft. Overall, the role of iOCT appeared crucial in several complicated cases, overcoming the difficulties of poor visualization in a fast, non-invasive way, thus raising this approach as possible gold standard for challenging conditions. Further improvements in the technology may enable autonomous centering and tracking, overcoming the current constraint of instrument-induced shadowing.
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