When screening patiens for keratectasia risk, corneal biomechanical measurements are helpful

August 15, 2009

Researchers are looking into corneal biomechanics as a means to screen patients for keratectasia. An expert reviews signal interpretation from a non-contact applanation tonometer as it relates to corneal biomechanical indices such as corneal hysteresis and also discusses improved signal patterns that may result in more meaningful corneal biomechanical analysis than previously proposed metrics.

Key Points

Editor's Note: It gives me great pleasure to re-introduce the column "Focus on Refractive Surgery." Bringing the column back to life is perhaps timely as we obtain glimpses of economic recovery with the recent upswing in the consumer confidence index.

With recent debate over risk factors for the development or exacerbation of keratectasia (such as thin corneas), researchers are looking into corneal biomechanics to screen for patients at risk for this rare but potentially serious condition. Over the past few years, research in this area has grown to create a need for a commercially available device that provides meaningful biomechanical assessment of the cornea.

In this column, Renato Ambrósio Jr., MD, PhD, and Frederico Guerra, MD, review signal interpretation from a non-contact applanation tonometer (Ocular Response Analyzer, Reichert) as it relates to corneal biomechanical indices such as corneal hysteresis. They also discuss improved signal pattern analysis, which may result in more meaningful corneal biomechanical analysis than previously proposed metrics. Once validated and refined, these improved signals may allow clinicians to use biomechanical methods to screen patients who are poor candidates for corneal refractive excimer surgery more reliably.

Ectasia

The need for more advanced understanding of corneal biomechanical properties is definitively highlighted by the ectasia mysteries.