Corneal endothelium, retinal nerve fiber layer, ganglion cell complex, and perimetry measurements in normal eyes and those with primary open-angle glaucoma
Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology,
Vol. 11 No. 2 (2022),
23 September 2022
AbstractBackground: Corneal endothelial cell (CEC) loss in glaucoma can be attributed to the direct compressive effect of elevated intraocular pressure. Herein, we aimed to evaluate specular microscopic changes in CEC count and morphology in correlation to retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) changes detected by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in early and advanced primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
Methods: This descriptive-analytical study involved patients with medically controlled POAG versus non-glaucomatous patients of the same age group. Specular microscopy, visual field testing, and SD-OCT of the RNFL and macular ganglion cell complex (GCC) were performed. Eyes with POAG were further subcategorized into early and advanced stages.
Results: The study included 130 eyes of 130 participants; 70 were eyes with POAG (40 eyes with early-stage POAG, 30 eyes with advanced-stage POAG), and 60 were healthy eyes. The groups were comparable regarding mean age and sex. No significant difference was found in corneal parameters between healthy eyes, eyes with early POAG, and eyes with advanced POAG (all P > 0.05). In eyes with early-stage POAG, a significant negative correlation was found between the coefficient of variation (CV) and superior RNFL thickness (r = - 0.5; P = 0.018), and between the percentage of hexagonal cells (hexagonality) and vertical cup-to-disc ratio (r = - 0.43; P = 0.035). A significant positive correlation was found between hexagonality and superior as well as inferior RNFL thickness (r = + 0.53; P = 0.008 and r = + 0.50; P = 0.015, respectively). However, in the advanced glaucomatous eyes, no significant correlation was found between RNFL thickness and CEC parameters.
Conclusions: CEC parameters were not affected in eyes with early or advanced POAG compared with healthy eyes, despite a significant thinning of RNFL and macular GCC. In eyes with early-stage POAG, a significant correlation was found between morphological characteristics of CECs, such as CV and hexagonality, with superior and inferior RNFL thickness in the optic nerve head on SD-OCT images. Future longitudinal studies with larger sample sizes are needed to verify our results.
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