Age-related changes in central corneal thickness and corneal endothelial characteristics

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To compare how corneal endothelial cell density, their average size and percentage of regular hexagonal cells depends on age; to estimate the average of endothelial cell density and central corneal thickness in diferent age groups.


The data of 211 person (358 eyes), who were examined using a non-contact specular microscope at the Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Clinic Center of Eye Diseases, was analyzed. Parameters examined included corneal endothelial cell density, average size of cells, percentage of regular hexagonal cells, central corneal thickness. Patients age and sex were also noted. All subjects, whose age was from 20 to 89 years, were devided into 7 age groups, each involving 10 years.


A total of 114 (54,03%) subjects were women and 97 (45,97%) were men.A strong inverse correlation was observed between subject age and corneal endothelial cell density (r= −0.650, p < 0.01), weak inverse correlation between age and central corneal thickness (r= -0,156, p< 0,01) and weak direct correlation between cell density and central corneal thickness (r= 0,232, p< 0,01). Average size of cells was directly correlated with age (r= 0,586, p< 0,01). No correlation between age and percentage of regular hexagonal cells was found (p> 0,05).


Young individuals have higher endothelial cell density, which decreases with age. Corneal thickness also decreases, but its dependence on age is weaker. The lower cell density, the lower corneal thickness. Average size of cells is bigger in young subjects. Percentage of regular hexagonal cells does not depend on age.

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