To determine the effects of estrogen and progesterone on corneal thickness, curvature, and biomechanics in healthy corneas according to hormonal status.
The study included four groups of females: group A (menstruating, not pregnant, not lactating, and not menopausal; n=100), group B (pregnant; n=50), group C (lactating; n=50), and group D (menopausal; n=50). Group A was subdivided according to age, as subgroup A15–25 (age 15–25 years) and subgroup A>25 (age >25 years). Blood estradiol and progesterone levels were measured in each participant. All the participants underwent a full ophthalmologic examination, including corneal thickness and corneal topography measurement, and evaluation of corneal biomechanical properties.
The corneal resistance factor and anterior corneal flat keratometry values were significantly higher in group D (P=0.040 and P=0.026, respectively) than in the other three groups. Posterior corneal steep keratometry values were significantly higher in subgroup A>25 during the preovulatory phase than ovulatory and postovulatory phases (P=0.012). In group B, there was a significant negative correlation between gestational week and intraocular pressure (IOP) (r=−0.322, P=0.024). Corneal volume was significantly higher during the early postpartum period than the late postpartum period in group C (P=0.028). Intraocular pressure, Goldman-correlated IOP, and corneal-compensated IOP differed significantly between the groups (P<0.05).
Blood levels of estrogen and progesterone were associated with variations in IOP, but estrogen and progesterone did not have a consistent effect on topographic parameters or biomechanical properties in healthy corneas.