Patients with glaucoma have reduced and irregular corneal epithelial thickness (CET) even if they do not report symptoms of dry eyes. The reduction of corneal epithelium affects equally the superior and inferior areas of the cornea.
To evaluate CET parameters by means of anterior segment optical coherence tomography in glaucomatous patients undergoing medical treatment and compare them with CET parameters of controls.
This was a cross-sectional study of 62 patients with primary open-angle or pseudoexfoliative glaucoma (study group) and 62 age-matched controls. Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (RTVue) with a corneal adaptor module was used in the present study. Τhe pachymetry scan pattern was used to map the cornea and the software generated corneal thickness parameters were recorded. Simple comparisons between groups were performed and the correlations of CET parameters with parameters associated with medication use (treatment duration, number of medications and number of instillations) were assessed.
Mean age of the patients was 68±11.9 years in the glaucoma group and 65.5±8.5, years in the control group (P=0.17). Median number of instillations of medication was 2 (range, 1 to 6) for the glaucoma group. Central corneal thickness was 537.6±33.3 in the glaucoma group and 550.8±33.7 in the control group, respectively (P=0.028). The central CET was 48.8.±3.7 μm in the glaucoma group and 53.5±3.7 μm in the control group (P<0.001). Similarly, the average superior (2 to 7 mm) CET and the average inferior (2 to 7 mm) CET were almost equally reduced in the glaucoma group (45±4 vs. 49.6±3.3 μm, P<0.001 and 49±3.9 vs 53.5±3.7, P<0.001, respectively). No CET parameter was correlated with any of the treatment parameters.
Patients treated for glaucoma have uniformly reduced corneal epithelial thickness.