Recognizing above-average corneal density in the central zone could help practitioners detect keratoconus while it’s still in a subclinical state, a recent study found. Researchers from Turkey examined the medical records of 3,474 patients with keratoconus and identified 116 cases in which the patient had clinical keratoconus in one eye and subclinical keratoconus in the fellow eye. They then evaluated the subclinical cases for myriad parameters, including corneal densitometry using the Pentacam HR (Oculus), and compared the results with healthy controls.  

While no major differences existed in corrected distance visual acuity and topographic, topometric and tomographic parameters, corneal densitometry in all layers of the 0mm to 2mm zone and in the anterior and central layers of the 2mm to 6mm zone were significantly higher in the subclinical keratoconus group. 

According to the researchers, these results indicate “that densitometric measurements could be one of the multimodal imaging methods […] used for detecting subclinical keratoconus and that it may be considered even more important when evaluated together with other diagnostic methods in the future.” Still, they suggest future studies include a larger number of patients to further confirm the usefulness of corneal densitometry in these cases.

Koc M, Tekin L, Tekin MI, et al. An early finding of keratoconus: increase in corneal densitometry. Cornea. 2018;37(5):580-6.