Published: 2018-05-22

Corneal thickness and endothelial cell density in diabetic and non- diabetic patients: a hospital based comparative study

Nagaraj G., Anasuya Sangaraj Desai, Nagesh Jayaram


Background: Diabetes mellitus is associated with structural changes in corneal endothelial cells and their thickness. The present study was done to compare the endothelial cell density (ECD), central corneal thickness (CCT) and morphology in diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Minto Ophthalmic hospital, BMC and RI Bangalore for a period of 20 months (October 2013 - May 2015). A total of 200 study subjects, 100 diabetics and 100 non-diabetic age matched controls were selected, and complete timed ophthalmic evaluation was performed. Specular microscopy was performed on all patients for endothelial cell count assessment and corneal thickness was measured by Pachymeter. The data was analyzed and represented using descriptive statistics. ‘t’ test was used for comparing the two groups.

Results: The mean endothelial cell density in diabetic group was significantly lower (2438.73±250.23cells/mm2) compared to non-diabetic group (2599.88±168.16cells/mm2) (p<0.0001). The mean Central corneal thickness in diabetic group was significantly higher (518.40±28.13 μm) compared to control group (490.14±24.31 μm) (p<0.001). The Co-efficient of variation percentage of the diabetics was higher than the non-diabetics but this difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05). The hexagonality percentage was significantly lower in diabetic group compared to the controls suggesting less pleomorphism in the diabetic group.

Conclusions: The study concludes that the endothelial cell density was lower and central corneal thickness was higher in diabetic patients compared with the non-diabetics. The altered endothelial morphology was significantly seen in the form of pleomorphism (hexagonality) but polymegathism was not significantly altered.


Corneal thickness, Co-efficient of variation, Endothelial cell density, Hexagonality

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