Corneal Epithelial Thickness Mapping: A Major Review

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Amir Hushang Beheshtnejad, Golshan Latifi, Marjan Akbari-Kamrani, Sadegh Ghafarian, Ahmad Masoomi, Seyed Ali Sonbolastan, Hamidreaza Jahanbani-Ardakani, Mehrnaz Atighechian, Laleh Banan, Hosein Nouri, Seyed Hossein Abtahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The corneal epithelium (CE) is the outermost layer of the cornea with constant turnover, relative stability, remarkable plasticity, and compensatory properties to mask alterations in the underlying stroma. The advent of quantitative imaging modalities capable of producing epithelial thickness mapping (ETM) has made it possible to characterize better the different patterns of epithelial remodeling. In this comprehensive synthesis, we reviewed all available data on ETM with different methods, including very high-frequency ultrasound (VHF-US) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in normal individuals, corneal or systemic diseases, and corneal surgical scenarios. We excluded OCT studies that manually measured the corneal epithelial thickness (CET) (e.g., by digital calipers) or the CE (e.g., by confocal scanning or handheld pachymeters). A comparison of different CET measuring technologies and devices capable of producing thickness maps is provided. Normative data on CET and the possible effects of gender, aging, diurnal changes, refraction, and intraocular pressure are discussed. We also reviewed ETM data in several corneal disorders, including keratoconus, corneal dystrophies, recurrent epithelial erosion, herpes keratitis, keratoplasty, bullous keratopathy, carcinoma in situ, pterygium, and limbal stem cell deficiency. The available data on the potential role of ETM in indicating refractive surgeries, planning the procedure, and assessing postoperative changes are reviewed. Alterations in ETM in systemic and ocular conditions such as eyelid abnormalities and dry eye disease and the effects of contact lenses, topical medications, and cataract surgery on the ETM profile are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6674747
JournalJournal of Ophthalmology
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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