Corneal Elevation Topography: Best Fit Sphere, Elevation Distance, Asphericity, Toricity, and Clinical Implications

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Purpose:To describe the effect of the corneal asphericity and toricity on the map patterns and best fit sphere (BFS) characteristics in elevation topography.Methods:The corneal surface was modeled as a biconic surface of principal radii and asphericity values of r1 and r2 and Q1 and Q2, respectively. The apex of the biconic surface corresponded to the origin of a polar coordinates system. Minimization of the squared residuals was used to calculate the values of the radii of the BFSs and apex distance (A-values: z distance between the corneal apex and the BFS) of the modeled corneal surface for various configurations relating to commonly clinically measured values of apical radius, asphericity, and toricity.Results:Increased apical radius of curvature and increased prolateness (negative asphericity) led to an increase in BFS radius but had opposite effects on the A-value. Increased prolateness resulted in increased BFS radius and A-value. Increasing toricity did not alter these findings. Color-plot elevation maps of the modeled corneal surface showed complete ridge patterns when toricity was increased and showed incomplete ridge and island patterns when prolateness was increased.Conclusions:High A-values in patients with corneal astigmatism may result from steep apical curvature and/or high prolateness (negative asphericity). The BFS radius may help in distinguishing between these 2 causes of increased A-values. Increased prolateness and decreased apical radius of curvature (often seen in keratoconus) have opposite effects on the BFS radius but similar effects on the apex distance.

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