Grading of corneal transparency

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To examine the academic literature on the grading of corneal transparency and to assess the potential use of objective image analysis.
Method: Reference databases of academic literature were searched and relevant manuscripts reviewed. Annunziato, Efron (Millennium Edition) and Vistakon-Synoptik corneal oedema grading scale images were analysed objectively for relative intensity, edges detected, variation in intensity and maximum intensity. In addition, corneal oedema was induced in one subject using a low oxygen transmissibility (Dk/t) hydrogel contact lens worn for 3 hours under a light eye patch. Recovery from oedema was monitored over time using ultrasound pachymetry, high and low contrast visual acuity measures, bulbar hyperaemia grading and transparency image analysis of the test and control eyes.
Results: Several methods for assessing corneal transparency are described in the academic literature, but none have gained widespread in clinical practice. The change in objective image analysis with printed scale grade was best described by quadratic parametric or sigmoid 3-parameter functions. ‘Pupil image scales’ (Annunziato and Vistakon-Synoptik) were best correlated to average intensity; however, the corneal section scale (Efron) was strongly correlated to variations in intensity. As expected, patching an eye wearing a low Dk/t hydrogel contact lens caused a significant (F=119.2, P<0.001) 14.3% increase in corneal thickness, which gradually recovered under open eye conditions. Corneal section image analysis was the most affected parameter and intensity variation across the slit width, in isolation, was the strongest correlate, accounting for 85.8% of the variance with time following patching, and 88.7% of the variance with corneal thickness.
Conclusion: Corneal oedema is best determined objectively by the intensity variation across the width of a corneal section. This can be easily measured using a slit-lamp camera connected to a computer. Oedema due to soft contact lens wear is not easily determined over the pupil area by sclerotic scatter illumination techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number4
Early online date29 Sept 2004
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • transparency
  • oedema
  • cornea
  • grading
  • image analysis


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