Purpose: To show age-related changes in the presence of Vogt palisades in human limbus and the quantity and size of the limbal basal epithelial cells (LBECs) by in vivo confocal microscopy (CM).
Methods: One hundred sixty eyes of 160 healthy subjects were enrolled in this study after a routine slit-lamp examination. They were divided into 4 groups according to age: A (0-19 years), B (20-39 years), C (40-59 years), and D (>60 years). In vivo CM examination was performed on the inferior limbus, and the images were recorded. For each group, the positive rate of Vogt palisades was analyzed and the average size of LBECs was measured.
Results: The positive rate of Vogt palisades in groups A, B, C, and D was 97.5% (39/40), 95.0% (38/40), 77.5% (31/40), and 40.0% (16/40), respectively, showing a significant decreasing tendency with age. The average size of LBECs in groups A, B, C, and D was 9.89 +/- 1.12, 10.65 +/- 1.45, 10.70 +/- 1.39, and 12.36 +/- 1.68 microm. Significant differences between groups were obvious except for that between groups B and C.
Conclusions: The presence of Vogt palisades in human limbus declined with age. Therefore, so did the qualities of LBECs, with an age-related cell size enlargement.