COVID-19 related changes in corneal curvature and endothelium after mild infection

SÜMER F., SUBAŞI S., Karaman S.

Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, vol.45, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.pdpdt.2023.103899
  • Journal Name: Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: Coefficient of variation, Corneal endothelium, Corneal topography, COVID-19, Specular microscopy
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: To investigate subclinical corneal changes using corneal topography in the evaluation of corneal curvature and specular microscopy in the evaluation of the endothelial layer after mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods: In this prospective study, 112 eyes of 56 individuals with mild COVID-19 who recovered were investigated. Mean cell density (CD), mean coefficient of variation (CV), mean percentage of hexagonal cells, mean cell area (AVG), and central corneal thickness (CCT) were recorded from specular microscopy. K readings, including simulated keratometry flat (K1), simulated keratometry steep (K2), average keratometry (Kmean) and maximum keratometry (Kmax), pachymetric measurement and central corneal thickness (CCT), corneal volume (CV), topographic astigmatism (TA), curvature asymmetry front (CAf) and curvature asymmetry back (CAb) were recorded from corneal topography. Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), spherical equivalant and biometric measurements were recorded. Results: The mean time interval between examinations before and after COVID-19 infection was approximately one year. Analysis of specular microscopy data showed a statistically significant change in all endothelial cell parameters (p<0.001) except the cell count (p = 0.358). The median (range) endothelial cell density (ECD) value was significantly lower after COVID-19 at 2356 (2289–2400) than before, when it was 2596 (2545–2640). Furthermore, CCT values showed a significant increase (p<0.001). The topographic values including K2, Kmax and TA and biometric measurements did not change. The Spherical Equivalant (SE) values showed significant myopic progression after COVID-19 (p<0.001). Conclusion: Endothelial parameters changed more than the changes in corneal curvature and ocular biometric measurements after mild COVID-19. The decrease in endothelial cell number and hexagonality and increase in polymorphism after COVID-19 were striking.