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Can J Ophthalmol. 1999 Oct;34(6):319-24.

Central corneal thickness in low-tension glaucoma.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Western Ontario, London.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is possible that the intraocular pressure (IOP) is underestimated in eyes whose central cornea is thinner than normal. The objective of this study was to determine and establish the significance of central corneal thickness in patients with low-tension (normal-tension) glaucoma compared with those with chronic open-angle glaucoma (COAG) or ocular hypertension and healthy eyes.

METHODS:

The study was carried out from February 1998 to May 1999. Central corneal thickness was measured by ultrasonic pachymetry and IOP was measured by Goldmann applanation tonometry in 25 patients with low-tension glaucoma (untreated IOP less than 21 mm Hg with evidence of optic nerve head damage and corresponding visual field loss on automated perimetry), 80 patients with COAG (untreated IOP 21 mm Hg or greater with evidence of optic nerve head damage and corresponding visual field loss on automated perimetry), 16 patients with ocular hypertension (untreated IOP 21 mm Hg or greater, with normal optic nerve head and no history of glaucoma or elevated IOP, and normal visual field on automated perimetry) and 50 control subjects (untreated IOP less than 21 mm Hg with normal optic nerve head and no history of glaucoma or elevated IOP). Analysis with Pearson's product-moment correlation was performed to determine the correlation of IOP and central corneal thickness, and one-way analysis of variance was used to compare corneal thickness between groups.

RESULTS:

The central cornea was significantly thinner in the low-tension glaucoma group (mean 513.2 mu [standard deviation (SD) 26.1 mu]) than in the COAG group (mean 548.2 mu [SD 35.0 mu]) and the control group (mean 556.7 mu [SD 35.9 mu]) (p < 0.001). No significant difference in corneal thickness was found between the COAG and control groups. The ocular hypertension group had significantly thicker corneas (mean 597.5 mu [SD 23.6 mu]) than the three other groups (p < 0.001).

INTERPRETATION:

Patients with low-tension glaucoma may have thinner corneas than patients with COAG and healthy subjects. This results in underestimation of their IOP. Corneal thickness should be taken into account when managing these patients to avoid undertreatment.

PMID:
10604052
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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