Purpose: To perform an age-stratified analysis of the effect of diabetes and pseudophakia on corneal endothelial cell density (ECD).
Methods: This is a comparative analysis of donor characteristics from data supplied by the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research on tissue harvested from July 1, 2007, through May 23, 2014. The mixed-effects model was used to compare age-adjusted mean corneal ECD between donors with and without diabetes.
Results: A total of 20,026 nondiabetic donor eyes and 13,617 diabetic donor eyes were included in this study. ECD was 2604 cells per square millimeter in nondiabetic corneas and 2576 cells per square millimeter in diabetic corneas (P < 0.001). Among phakic patients, diabetic ECD was significantly less in the middle-age subgroups: -33 cells per square millimeter in the 21-to-40-year-old subgroup (P = 0.048) and -25 cells per square millimeter in the 41-to-60-year-old subgroup (P = 0.009). Among pseudophakic patients, diabetic ECD was significantly less only in the subgroup 61 years or older: -56 cells per square millimeter (P = 0.026). The magnitude of difference in ECD between phakic and pseudophakic donors was greater in patients with diabetes in the subgroup 61 years or older (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Donor eyes with a history of diabetes had a slightly lower ECD (-29 cells/mm) than eyes without a history of diabetes. Although this statistical relationship is consistent with our pathophysiologic understanding of diabetes and the corneal endothelium, such a minor difference in ECD would be expected to have minimal clinical impact on overall corneal endothelial function.