Corneal elevation changes after forced eyelid closure in healthy participants and in patients with keratoconus

Eray Atalay, Raymond P Najjar, Tin Aung Tun, Onur Özalp, Mustafa D Bilgeç, Nilgün Yıldırım
Clinical & Experimental Optometry: Journal of the Australian Optometrical Association 2019 March 18

BACKGROUND: To assess pointwise corneal elevation changes after forced eyelid closure test (FECT) in the eyes of healthy subjects and in eyes with keratoconus.

METHODS: Twenty-nine subjects with keratoconus and 31 healthy volunteers were evaluated. Patients with keratoconus who had corneal hydrops, apical scarring, corneal thickness ≤ 400 μm, ocular surface disease, contact lens wear on the examination day and a history of corneal cross-linking were excluded. Exclusion criteria for healthy participants were spherical error > +3.00 D and < -3.00 D, corneal astigmatism > 1.50 D, corneal curvature > 47 D, ocular allergy, clinical findings and family history of keratoconus. Pentacam was performed before and after 20 seconds of FECT and raw data were extracted from the built-in software. Pointwise anterior and posterior elevation changes in the central 8 mm cornea were assessed using paired samples t-test and heat maps were constructed to reflect mean changes and statistically significant data points. Statistical significance was assumed at p < 0.01.

RESULTS: Age and gender were similar between healthy subjects (24.5 ± 1.6 years, 46.4 per cent female) and subjects with keratoconus (28.6 ± 9.2 years, 46.4 per cent female, p = 0.19, 0.61, respectively). Healthy eyes displayed posterior depression clustering in the inferotemporal and inferonasal areas (mean change: -4.5 ± 7.8 μm and -5.2 ± 9.8 μm, respectively, all p < 0.01). In contrast, keratoconus eyes exhibited a wider area of posterior elevation clustering in the inferior cornea (mean change: 8.1 ± 14.5 μm, all p < 0.01) with a small extension in the inferotemporal cornea (mean change: 12.1 ± 22.3 μm, all p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: FECT elicits corneal elevation changes mainly in the inferior cornea with the change being more pronounced and wider in eyes with keratoconus.

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