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Diabetes and corneal endothelial cell characteristics: a study based on Eye Bank data

Geoffrey Brown, Eric Siegel, Steve Staples, Jennifer Doyle, Jason Y. Chang


The aim of the article is to determine whether corneal endothelial cell density and other characteristics, such as cell area, pleomorphism and polymegathism, are affected by diabetes. Corneal endothelial cell density and other characteristics of donor eyes collected during 2007 and 2008 in a local Eye Bank were measured by the HAI Eyebank Specular Microscope System. Adult donors aged 21 or older who consented to research were divided into healthy versus compromised eye-status groups based on eye disease or past eye surgeries. Differences in corneal measures between diabetic and non-diabetic subjects were analyzed separately in each group via Mixed Models ANCOVA, with Diabetes as the fixed effect, Donor as the random effect, and Age as the continuous covariate. A total of 253 subjects met study criteria, of which 81 (32%) had diabetes. In the 180 subjects with healthy eye status, the medians (ranges) of age were 62 (29-78) years among 52 diabetics (29%), versus 57 (21-79) years among non-diabetics (P=0.013). In the 73 subjects with compromised eye status, the medians (ranges) of age were 70 (32-78) years among 29 diabetics (40%), versus 70 (29-79) years among nondiabetics (P=0.77). Between diabetics and non-diabetics, eye disease and past eye surgeries were well-balanced in the compromised eye-status group, while race and sex were wellbalanced in both eye-status groups. Results from separate analyses on the two groups indicated that diabetes did not affect corneal cell density or other corneal-cell characteristics analyzed. Even though diabetics constituted a large percentage of the Eye Bank donor population, this disease did not have a statistically significant impact on corneal endothelial cell density, cell area, pleomorphism or polymegathism.


corneal endothelial cells, diabetes, Eye Bank.

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Eye Reports [eISSN 2039-4756] is a new Open Access, online-only, peer-reviewed journal.