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Comparing Central Corneal Thickness in a Sub-Saharan Cohort to African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans

Mercieca, Karl MD, MRCOphth*; Odogu, Victor FRCS; Fiebai, Bassey MBBS; Arowolo, Olu MBBS; Chukwuka, Favour FWACS

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3180415d90
Clinical Science

Purpose: To evaluate the central corneal thickness (CCT) of Africans in a glaucoma practice in a university teaching hospital in West Nigeria, Africa, and compare results with similar studies carried out in African American and Afro-Caribbean populations.

Methods: CCT was measured by means of ultrasound pachymetry (pachymeter used was Micropach 200 P+ Pachymeter; Sonomed) in only African participants with either glaucomatous or healthy eyes. After instillation of topical anesthetic, 3 measurements of corneal thickness were taken, and the average thickness for each was calculated. The relationship between CCT and age was studied using correlation analyses and t tests. A total of 70 eyes were included for analysis.

Results: The mean CCT of all participants was 532.00 μm. Glaucoma suspects and patients with glaucoma had corneas thinner than those of normal participants (527.36 and 536.91 μm, respectively); however, the difference was not significant (P = 0.296). Decreasing values of CCT were significantly related to older age (P = 0.002). Men had a significantly higher CCT than women (P = 0.035).

Conclusions: CCT values in African populations are less than those of whites. Decreasing values of CCT are significantly related to older age, and men have thicker corneas than women. There is a suggestion that CCT is lower in patients with glaucoma than in nonglaucomatous controls; however, the difference is not statistically significant. Comparing our results to other studies in literature, it seems that average CCT is similar between populations living in sub-Saharan Africa and African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.

From the *Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Manchester, United Kingdom; and the †University Hospital Eye Unit, Choba, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria.

Received for publication July 23, 2006; revision received January 10, 2007; accepted January 29, 2007.

Reprints: Karl Mercieca, 15 Maplewood 117 Nell Lane, Manchester M20 2DU, UK (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.