Longitudinal effect of topical antiglaucoma medications on central corneal thickness

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 May-Jun;41(4):348-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2012.02870.x.


Background: To determine the change in central corneal thickness over time and whether the use of long-term topical antiglaucoma medications influences central corneal thickness.

Design: Case control study with retrospective and prospective data collection.

Participants: One hundred eighty-seven eyes of 187 glaucoma patients (mean follow up 6.92 ± 1.67 years) being treated with topical antiglaucoma medications (at least 3 years) with no history of surgery or laser were included and compared with 100 eyes of 100 age-matched, untreated control subjects (mean follow up 6.58 ± 1.93 years) who were glaucoma suspects with normal intraocular pressure not on any treatment.

Methods: Demographic data, central corneal thickness and intraocular pressure were collected at initial glaucoma diagnosis and at most recent visit, and findings were compared between two groups.

Main outcome measures: Mean change in central corneal thickness in microns (μm).

Results: Central corneal thickness fell significantly (P < 0.0001) in treated eyes but not in control eyes (P = 0.18); mean central corneal thickness reduction was 12.29 ± 13.65 μm in treated eyes and 1.17 ± 8.75 μm in controls. Among treated eyes, central corneal thickness reduction was significant (P < 0.0001) in those treated with either prostaglandins or a combination of prostaglandin and beta-blockers, while no significant reduction occurred in eyes treated with only beta-blockers (P = 0.15) when compared with control eyes.

Conclusions: Prostaglandins appear to be associated with a small but significant central corneal thickness reduction over time. Serial central corneal thickness measurements might be helpful in glaucoma patients, particularly those on prostaglandins.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Corneal Pachymetry
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Low Tension Glaucoma / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tonometry, Ocular


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Prostaglandins, Synthetic