Age-related modifications of corneal sensitivity

Ophthalmologica. Sep-Oct 2004;218(5):350-5. doi: 10.1159/000079478.


Purpose: To evaluate central and peripheral corneal sensitivity (CS) in relation to age.

Methods: Five hundred eyes of 320 healthy subjects (185 males and 135 females) were examined. The age of participants ranged from 20 to 90 years. All subjects were divided into 3 groups according to age. CS was assessed with the Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometer in the central cornea and in 8 peripheral points. The averages were used as the values of central and peripheral CS.

Results: In the young population, CS was equal in both examined zones (p > 0.05); although, with respect to the periphery after the fifth decade, it was significantly higher in the centre (p < 0.05). Both central and peripheral sensitivity decreased with age (p < 0.05), and such variations are represented by parabolic curves. No differences were observed between males and females.

Conclusions: The age-related decrement of CS involves at first the corneal periphery and successively spreads toward the central zone. Topographical distribution and age-related modifications should be considered in clinical investigations of CS, especially in patients who underwent any corneal surgical procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cornea / innervation
  • Cornea / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology