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Comparison of Confocal Biomicroscopy and Noncontact Specular Microscopy for Evaluation of the Corneal Endothelium

Hara, Makiko MD; Morishige, Naoyuki MD, PhD; Chikama, Tai-ichiro MD, PhD; Nishida, Teruo MD, DSc

Clinical Sciences

Purpose. To compare the clinical efficacy of confocal biomicroscopy with that of noncontact specular microscopy for the evaluation of the corneal endothelium.

Methods. The corneal endothelium was examined in 14 normal subjects (28 eyes) and in 6 patients (11 eyes) with Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy using a noncontact specular microscope (SP-2000P, Topcon, Japan) and a confocal biomicroscope (ConfoScan, Tomey, Japan). The images and the calculated densities of corneal endothelial cells obtained by the 2 techniques were compared.

Results. For normal subjects, the images of corneal endothelial cells obtained by the 2 techniques were almost identical, although the density of these cells determined by confocal biomicroscopy (2916 ± 334 cells/mm2) was slightly higher than that determined by noncontact specular microscopy (2765 ± 323 cells/mm2). In contrast, whereas clear images of corneal endothelial cells, allowing the determination of cell density, were obtained for all 11 eyes of the patient group by confocal biomicroscopy, clear images were obtained for only 4 of these 11 eyes (36.4%) by noncontact specular microscopy.

Conclusion. Both noncontact specular microscopy and confocal biomicroscopy revealed the shapes and number of endothelial cells in the normal cornea. However, for corneas with Fuchs dystrophy, clear images were obtained only by confocal biomicroscopy. Confocal biomicroscopy is thus an effective tool for evaluation of the diseased corneal endothelium.

From the Department of Biomolecular Recognition and Ophthalmology, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Ube City, Yamaguchi, Japan.

Submitted November 7, 2002.

Revision received April 17, 2003.

Accepted April 19, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Makiko Hara, MD, Department of Biomolecular Recognition and Ophthalmology, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, 1-1-1 Minami-Kogushi, Ube City, Yamaguchi 755-8505, Japan. E-mail: haramaki@mti.biglobe.ne.jp

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.