Objectives: To determine the central corneal thickness (CCT) in healthy white, African American, and Hispanic children from birth to 17 years of age and to determine whether CCT varies by age, race, or ethnicity.
Design: Prospective observational multicenter study. Central corneal thickness was measured with a handheld contact pachymeter.
Results: A total of 2079 children were included in the study, with ages ranging from birth to 17 years. Included were 807 whites, 494 Hispanics, and 474 African Americans, in addition to Asian, unknown race, and mixed-race individuals. African American children had thinner corneas on average than that of both white and Hispanic children (P < .001 for both) by approximately 20 μm. Thicker median CCT was observed with each successive year of age from age 1 to 11 years, with year-to-year differences steadily decreasing and reaching a plateau after age 11 at 573 μm in white and Hispanic children and 551 μm in African American children. For every 100 μm of thicker CCT measured, the intraocular pressure was 1.5 mm Hg higher on average (P < .001). For every diopter of increased myopic refractive error, CCT was 1 μm thinner on average (P < .001).
Conclusions: Median CCT increases with age from 1 to 11 years, with the greatest increase present in the youngest age groups. African American children on average have thinner central corneas than white and Hispanic children, whereas white and Hispanic children demonstrate similar CCT.