Novel pachymetric parameters based on corneal tomography for diagnosing keratoconus

J Refract Surg. 2011 Oct;27(10):753-8. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20110721-01. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Purpose: To describe pachymetric progression indices (PPI) of the Pentacam HR (Oculus Optikgeräte GmbH) and the concept of relational thickness, and to test their accuracy for differentiating keratoconic and normal corneas compared with single-point thickness values.

Methods: One hundred thirteen individual eyes randomly selected from 113 normal patients and 44 eyes of 44 patients with keratoconus were studied using the Pentacam HR by acquiring central corneal thickness (CCT), thinnest point (TP), position of the TP and PPI at minimal (PPI Min) and maximal (PPI Max) meridians, and the average (PPI Ave) of all meridians. Relational thickness parameters were calculated as the ratios of TP and CCT and PPI values. Mann-Whitney U test assessed differences in groups for each variable. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated for all variables and pairwise comparisons were performed.

Results: Statistically significant differences were noted between normal and keratoconic eyes for all parameters (P<.001), except for horizontal position of TP (P=.79). The best parameters, named Ambrósio's Relational Thickness (ART), were ART-Ave (TP/PPI Ave) and ART-Max (TP/PPI Max) with areas under the ROC curves of 0.987 and 0.983, respectively. The best cutoffs were 424 μm and 339 μm for ART-Ave and ART-Max, respectively. Pachymetric progression indices and ART had a greater area under the curve than TP and CCT (P<.001); TP (0.955) had a greater area under the curve than CCT (0.909; P=.002).

Conclusions: Tomographic-derived pachymetric parameters were better able to differentiate normal and keratoconic corneas than single-point pachymetric measurements. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of tomography in identifying early forms of ectasia as well as ectasia risk among LASIK candidates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Corneal Topography / instrumentation
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratoconus / diagnosis*
  • Keratoconus / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography / instrumentation
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography
  • Young Adult