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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Jul;41(8):2120-6.

Autosomal recessive cornea plana: in vivo corneal morphology and corneal sensitivity.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Helsinki, Eye Bank, Finland.



Autosomal recessive corneal plana (RCP) is a rare corneal anomaly with unknown pathogenesis and a high incidence in Finland. The aim was to examine corneal sensitivity and the morphology of different corneal layers and subbasal nerves in RCP patients.


Three patients with a diagnosed autosomal recessive cornea plana were examined. Corneal sensitivity to different modalities of stimulation was tested in four corneas using noncontact esthesiometry. Tissue morphology of three corneas was evaluated, and in two corneas thickness of corneal layers was measured using in vivo confocal microscopy.


Corneas of RCP patients appear to have mechanosensory, polymodal, and cold-sensitive nerve terminals. RCP patients had normal sensation thresholds for chemical, heat, and cold stimulation but a high threshold for mechanical stimulation. Their capacity to discriminate increasing intensities of stimulus was reduced, except for cold stimuli. Thickness of the epithelial layer was reduced, whereas total corneal and stromal thicknesses were slightly reduced or close to normal values. In all cases Bowman's layer was absent. Subbasal nerves had abnormal branching patterns. The arrangement of anterior keratocytes was altered, showing clustered and irregularly shaped nuclei. Increased backscattering of light in confocal microscopy through focusing (CMTF) profiles was observed throughout the stroma. Epithelial and endothelial cells appeared to be regular in shape.


The present study revealed qualitative and quantitative alterations in corneal sensitivity, cellular morphology, and the thickness of corneal layers in RCP patients.

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