Pediatric corneal structural development during childhood characterized by ultrasound biomicroscopy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus








© 2020 Slack Incorporated. All rights reserved. Purpose: To quantitatively describe the structural corneal changes from infancy to early adulthood using ultrasound biomicroscopy. Methods: In this prospective study, 168 ultrasound biomicroscopy images were obtained from 24 healthy eyes of 24 patients who consented and enrolled in the Pediatric Anterior Segment Imaging Innovation Study. Their ages ranged from birth to 26 years. An established ultrasound biomicroscopy imaging protocol including seven views of one eye per patient were obtained and measured using ImageJ software (National Institutes of Health). Twelve corneal structural parameters were measured. Means were compared between younger and older groups. Results: Among the 12 measured structures, 5 demonstrated statistically significant differences (P < .05) between patients younger than 1 year and patients older than 1 year. The mean values for corneal cross-sectional width and length, central corneal thickness, and radii of curvature (anterior and posterior) were significantly different in patients younger than 1 year. Curvature and limbus-to-limbus dimensions changed more dramatically than thickness and tissue density. When comparing the youngest to oldest subgroups, anterior curvature flattened (6.14 to 7.55 radius), posterior curvature flattened (5.53 to 6.72 radius), angle-to-angle distance increased (8.93 to 11.40 mm), and endothelial cross-sectional distance increased (10.63 to 13.61 mm). Conclusions: Pediatric corneal structures change with age. The most significant changes occur in the first months of life, with additional changes later in childhood. This study further demonstrates the importance of age in pediatric corneal imaging analysis.

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