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J Cataract Refract Surg. 2003 Mar;29(3):471-7.

Corneal model.

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Universit├Ąts-Augenklinik, Mainz, Germany.



To describe the optical region of the cornea with as few parameters as possible and to compare this approach to commonly used mathematical models for the cornea.


University eye hospital, Mainz, Germany.


Corneal surface is approximated by a simple model (SM) that is defined by 2 perpendicular vertex radii, their angle to the horizontal, and a unique numerical eccentricity. These parameters, together with a parameter quantifying the decentration of the recording, are obtained in a consistent fit of corneal topographic data. The SM is compared to Zernike polynomial approximations of the 4th (Z4 model) and 8th (Z8 model) radial orders. Residual refraction errors for these approximations are calculated by numerical ray tracing, allowing a comparison of the different approaches. The statistical evaluation was carried out in 100 healthy eyes.


The model approximation accuracy for the SM was at least as high as the reproducibility of the topographic measurements. For small optical zones up to 4.0 mm in diameter, the SM was on average more accurate than the Z4 model.


The parameters of the SM, which are closely related to conventional parameters of the cornea, provided a highly accurate basis for following refractive interventions (customized corneal or cataract surgery). Zernike polynomials tend to improve peripheral optical quality at the expense of the central quality. Except in cases of technical optics, this is an unwanted effect in the human eye.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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