Clinical utility of irx3 in keratoconus

Clin Exp Optom. 2021 Jan;104(1):107-114. doi: 10.1111/cxo.13133.


Clinical relevance: Diagnosis and monitoring of keratoconus is increasingly being conducted with the aid of imaging equipment such as corneal aberrometry. There is a need to also know the confidence with which ocular aberration measurements can be made.

Background: To assess the repeatability of lower- and higher-order aberration measurements in patients with keratoconus using the irx3 wavefront aberrometer (Imagine Eyes, Orsay, France) and evaluate correlations with corneal curvature.

Methods: The irx3 wavefront aberrometer was used to measure bilateral lower- and higher-order ocular aberrations on 33 participants with keratoconus. Three measurements were taken from each eye to determine the repeatability of lower-order aberrations (quantified as sphere and cylinder in dioptres) and higher-order aberration co-efficients (up to eighth order in micrometres), coma, trefoil and total higher-order aberration root mean square (in micrometres). Corneal curvature was measured using the Pentacam HR system (OCULUS, Wetzlar, Germany).

Results: Repeat measurements for lower-order aberrations resulted in larger co-efficients of repeatability than higher-order aberrations. Similarly, larger co-efficients of repeatability between repeated measures across all Zernike co-efficients were observed in eyes with severe keratoconus (that is, corneal curvature > 52-D) compared to eyes with flatter corneas. The difference between repeated measures tended to be significant for the lower-order aberrations regardless of corneal curvature. The highest correlations with corneal curvature for right and left eyes respectively, were identified for total higher-order aberration root mean square (r = 0.92, p < 0.001 and r = 0.91, p < 0.001), followed closely by coma (r = -0.93, p < 0.001 and r = -0.86, p < 0.001) and the Z (3, -1) co-efficient (r = -0.92, p < 0.001 and r = -0.86, p < 0.001 for right and left eyes, respectively).

Conclusions: Lower-order aberrations tended to be less repeatable, indicating that instrument variability must be considered when monitoring progression. Total higher-order aberration root mean square and third-order aberrations, in particular the vertical coma Z (3, -1) co-efficient, demonstrated a stronger correlation with corneal curvature than the lower-order aberrations.

Keywords: Pentacam; irx3 wavefront aberrometry; keratoconus; ocular aberrations; vertical coma.

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Topography
  • Corneal Wavefront Aberration* / diagnosis
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Humans
  • Keratoconus* / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcription Factors


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • IRX3 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors

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