A prospective analysis of corneal endothelial polymegethism and cell density in young adult Asians

Michael Doughty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim was to assess the morphology of the Asian corneal endothelium, particularly the index of polymegethism and its relationship to endothelial cell density assessments. Methods: The central regions of the corneal endothelium of 72 healthy, normal weight, non-contact lens wearers were assessed by non-contact specular microscopy. There were six groups of persons, aged between 18 and 27 years, whose ethnic origins were self-reported as Asian (Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan or other Asian groups). Single images including at least 100 contiguous cells were obtained from each subject and were processed by planimetry after manual border marking to minimise errors. Calculations were made of the coefficient of variation of cell area (COV; polymegethism) as well as the endothelial cell density and percentage of six-sided cells. Results: The COV values ranged from 18 to 30.4 per cent (group mean 24.5 ± 2.8 per cent). The corneas had essentially normal thickness (0.530 ± 0.026mm), with the endothelia showing a high percentage of six-sided cells (66.3 ± 7.1 per cent) and none showing even mild signs of polymegethism. Endothelial cell density estimates based on average cell areas ranged from 2,020 to 3,623 cells per mm2 and from 2,157 to 3,835 with calculations based on individual cell areas. The difference between the two estimates of endothelial cell density was strongly related to the coefficient of variation (r = 0.765). Conclusions: This result is consistent with several older reports indicating that it is uncommon to find polymegethism in healthy young adult Asian individuals. Nonetheless, even low coefficient of variation values can substantially affect the estimations of the cell density. © 2014 Optometrists Association Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-263
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • cell density
  • endothelial cells
  • morphology


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