Published online Aug 6, 2019. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v7.i15.1978
Peer-review started: April 12, 2019
First decision: May 31, 2019
Revised: June 28, 2019
Accepted: July 3, 2019
Article in press: July 4, 2019
Published online: August 6, 2019
Glaucoma is a group of diseases characterized by a specific pattern of optic nerve neuropathy and retinopathy. Increasing evidence demonstrates glaucoma associated corneal endothelium loss. Direct-compression mechanism due to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), cell toxicity after long term exposure to preservatives and glaucoma surgery have been reported to be the possible mechanism. Herein, we compare the specular endothelial microscopy in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients and healthy controls of the same age group to observe the corneal endothelium changes and the correlations to the mean IOP in a Chinese case control study.
To investigate corneal endothelial cell density in Chinese patients with POAG.
A case control study was performed on 60 eyes of 60 patients with POAG. Exclusion criteria included history of corneal diseases, intraocular diseases, contact lens use, ocular trauma or surgery (including intraocular surgery and laser treatment), congenital abnormalities or systemic diseases such as diabetes. Intraocular pressure was measured using Goldmann tonometry. Indirect specular microscopy (TOPCON SP-2000P) was performed on central corneas and endothelial images were acquired. Endothelial cell density, area and cell counts were analyzed.
Endothelial cell density was 2959 ± 236 cells/mm2 in healthy controls and 2757 ± 262 cells/mm2 in patients with POAG. The POAG eyes had significantly lower endothelial cell density compared to healthy control eyes (P < 0.001). In the POAG group, endothelial cell density was 2686 ± 233 cells/mm2 in the patients receiving medication and 2856 ± 272 cells/mm2 in the untreated subgroup. The eyes receiving medication had significantly lower endothelial cell density compared to untreated eyes. There was a negative correlation between cell density and mean IOP (r = −0.286, P = 0.004), positive correlation between the average cell area and mean IOP (r = 0.228, P = 0.022), maximum cell area and mean IOP (r = 0.218, P = 0.029) and minimum cell area and mean IOP (r = 0.290, P = 0.003). The percentage of hexagonal cells was not correlated with mean IOP.
Patients with POAG have lower corneal endothelial cell density than healthy controls of the same age. This may be attributed to mechanical damage from elevated IOP and toxicity of glaucoma medications.
Core tip: Loss of corneal endothelial cells have been reported in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients. Elevated intraocular pressure, cell toxicity after long-term exposure to preservatives and glaucoma surgery have been reported to be possible mechanisms for endothelial damage. In this study, we aimed to document the corneal endothelial changes and their correlations with mean intraocular pressure between POAG patients and normal controls. We found that the corneal endothelial cell density in POAG patients is decreased and the average endothelial cell area is increased compared with those in healthy controls. High intraocular pressure and anti-glaucoma medication in POAG may be the main causes of corneal endothelial cell damage.