Dimensional changes in the ageing cornea

  • Christine L.K. Astin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The study investigated the central and peripheral corneal characteristics of groups of subjects from 20 to 90 years of age to assist the understanding of ageing changes in the cornea, and to see whether relationships between ocular parameters were revealed.
After age 45 the corneal horizontal radius of curvature gradually decreased with age. This trend was shown by the Aston University subjects (group B). The effect was very significant for the hospital patients undergoing biometry before cataract extraction operation (group D). Vertical radius of curvature showed a slight decrease with age after age 45, but similar to corneal eccentricity, this showed no significant age effect. Corneal astigmatism progressed from with the rule towards against the rule, particularly after age 60. The shift seemed mainly due to the decreasing horizontal corneal curvature.
In biometry no significant age relation was found for axial length, but a significant relation was found between curvature and axial length in the larger group D. Lens thickness showed a very significant relation to age and to axial length, but no significant relation to corneal curvature. Anterior chamber depth showed a very significant relation to age, lens thickness and axial length, but no significant relation to corneal curvature. A significant age effect was found for corneal thickness decreasing with age for the central, nasal and temporal regions of the right eye.
Analysis of the biometry results indicated the influence of two major factors. Firstly, the natural growth of the eye in youth, leading to greater values of axial length, radius of corneal curvature, lens thickness and anterior chamber depth. Secondly, the typical ageing changes where the increasing lens thickness caused a reduction in anterior chamber depth.
The decrease in corneal thickness with age shown in some corneal regions may be a sign of ageing changes in the tissue proteins and hydration balance.
Date of AwardJul 2005
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorColin W Fowler (Supervisor)


  • cornea
  • ageing
  • keratoscopy
  • pachometry
  • biometry

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