To evaluate the value of Scheimpflug-based biomechanical analyzer combined with tomography in detecting early keratoconus by distinguishing normal eyes from frank keratoconus (KC) and forme frusta keratoconus (FFKC) eyes in Chinese patients.
This study included 31 bilateral frank keratoconus patients, 27 unilateral clinical manifest keratoconus patients with very asymmetric eyes, and 79 control subjects with normal corneas. Corneal morphological and biomechanical parameters were measured using the Pentacam HR and Corvis ST (OCULUS, Wetzlar, Germany). The diagnostic capacity of computed parameters reflecting corneal biomechanical and morphological traits [including Belin-Ambrósio deviation index (BAD_D), Corvis biomechanical index (CBI) and tomographic and biomechanical index (TBI)] was determined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and compared by DeLong test. Additionally, the area under the curve (AUC), the best cutoff values, and Youden index for each parameter were reported. The novel corneal stiffness parameter (Stress-Strain Index or SSI) was also compared between KC, FFKC and normal eyes.
Every morphological and biomechanical index analyzed in this study was significantly different between KC, FFKC and normal eyes (p=0.000). TBI was most valuable for detecting subclinical keratoconus (FFKC eyes) with an AUC of 0.928 (P=0.000), and any forms of corneal ectasia (FFKC and frank KC eyes) with an AUC of 0.966 (P=0.000). The sensitivity and specificity of TBI for detecting FFKC was 97.5% and 77.8%, for detecting any KC was 97.5% and 89.7%, with a cut-off value of 0.375. Morphological index BAD_D and biomechanical index CBI were also very useful in distinguishing any KC eyes from normal eyes with an AUC of 0.965 and 0.934, respectively. SSI was significantly different between KC, FFKC and normal eyes (P=0.000), indicating an independent decrease in corneal stiffness in KC eyes.
Combination of Scheimpflug-based biomechanical analyzer and tomography could increase the accuracy of detecting early keratoconus in Chinese patients. TBI was the most valuable index for detecting subclinical keratoconus with high sensitivity and specificity. Evaluation of corneal biomechanical property in refractive surgery candidates is helpful to recognize potential keratoconic eyes and increase surgical safety.