Regional repeatability measures of corneal thickness: Orbscan II and ultrasound

Sven Jonuscheit, Michael J. Doughty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To compare repeatability of the measures of corneal thickness obtained by slit-scanning light method (Orbscan II) with those obtained by an ultrasound pachymeter, with special interest in the peripheral region of the cornea.
Methods: On 24 normal adults, aged 20 to 58 years (average 36 years) with up to -8.5 DS refractive error, three measures of corneal thickness were taken using Orbscan II and then by ultrasound pachymetry (under topical anesthesia with benoxinate 0.4%). The Orbscan central sample zone of 1 mm was selected, or the numerical maps were used to extract single point data along the horizontal corneal meridian to the nasal and temporal sides out to 4.5 mm. Ultrasound readings were taken from the central cornea and at the periphery just inside the limbus (4.5 mm from center) with a 2.4-mm diameter probe.
Results: For a central 1-mm diameter zone, the coefficient of variation (CV) for three consecutive corneal thickness measures was 0.81%+/-0.44%, but was marginally higher (p=0.004), if just the central single point data was taken with Orbscan (0.86%+/-0.45%). Similar repeatability was noted for the numerical output across the temporal side along the horizontal meridian out to 2.5 mm from the center, but farther out to 4 mm and on the nasal side the repeatability was slightly less and around 1.0% (p<0.001). Orbscan point readings of thickness could only sometimes be obtained at 4.5 mm temporally (with a poorer CV of 1.32%) and very rarely at 4.5 mm on the nasal side. No absolute differences in Orbscan repeatability were noted when comparing emmetropic with myopic subjects (p>or=0.5). Ultrasound pachymetry readings across the central zone were repeatable to 0.82%+/-0.67%. When measured with the edge of the ultrasound probe just touching the limbus, the repeatability of ultrasound readings was 1.37%+/-1.10% temporally and 1.49%+/-1.02% nasally, but neither was statistically worse that the most peripheral readings for Orbscan (p>or=0.210). However, it was also noted that the absolute values of corneal thickness, even with the application of the 0.92 acoustic factor, were 0.010 mm greater for Orbscan at the center and 0.040 mm in the corneal periphery.
Conclusions: Orbscan II provides the clinician with a repeatable noninvasive method of measuring corneal thickness that is not necessarily any better than ultrasound pachymetry, and should not be considered as interchangeable with that for ultrasound.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • corneal thickness
  • Ordscan II
  • ultrasound pachymetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Optometry


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