Decreased central corneal thickness in ankylosing spondylitis

Abstract

Central corneal thickness and dry eye tests were evaluated in a study population consisting of 68 ankylosing spondylitis patients diagnosed according to the modified New York criteria, and 61 age-matched controls without ankylosing spondylitis. A full ophthalmological evaluation was performed on each subject. All subjects were screened for age, gender, HLA-B27, tear break-up time test, Schirmer test, and duration of disease. Central corneal thickness was measured under topical anesthesia with an ultrasonic pachymeter. The mean central corneal thickness was 537.3 ± 30.6 μm, range 462–600 μm, in ankylosing spondylitis patients, whereas it was 551.7 ± 25.2 μm, range 510–620 μm, in controls (p = 0.005). The Schirmer test result was 7.3 ± 5.9 mm for the ankylosing spondylitis patients and 11.7 ± 5.8 mm for the control group (p = 0.002). Tear break-up time was 7.3 ± 3.2 s for the ankylosing spondylitis patients and 14.0 ± 4.5 s for the control group (p < 0.001). The possibility of a thinner cornea should be taken into consideration in ankylosing spondylitis. In addition, attention must be given to lower dry eye tests in surgical interventions such as photorefractive keratectomy and laser in situ keratomileusis in ankylosing spondylitis patients.

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