Purpose: To search for differences in corneal asphericity on the basis of ethnicity between African-American and white populations.
Methods: A prospective cohort design was used to analyze corneal asphericity (Q value) data obtained by Pentacam HR (Oculus, Wetzlar, Germany) on right eyes from African-American (n = 80) and white (n = 80). Subjects were stratified by ethnicity, age, and spherical equivalent (SE) refractive error. Q values were obtained from each quadrant (superior, nasal, inferior, and temporal) and two meridians (horizontal and vertical).
Results: The mean Q values were African-Americans −0.26 ± 0.19 and whites −0.20 ± 0.12, indicating that the eyes of African-Americans were significantly more prolate (p = 0.003) than those of whites. There was a significant difference between mean Q values for ethnic groups only in the 30- to 39-year olds (p = 0.01) and there was a lack of correlation with age in both ethnic groups. Q value contrasts by gender were only significant between males (p = 0.01). There was a lack of correlation between Q value and SE for either ethnic group. Age group contrasts between ethnic groups found significant differences for those with SE greater than 0.00 D to −3.00 D (p = 0.05) and greater than 0.00 D to +3.00 D (p = 0.05). Comparison of mean Q values in opposing meridians within and across ethnic groups were significant, although neither group showed significant differences between horizontal and vertical meridians.
Conclusions: Corneal asphericity as represented by mean Q value varies significantly between African-Americans and whites. The greatest differences are evident in opposing quadrants and appear to be little influenced by age, gender, or SE.