Objective—To determine density of corneal endothelial
cells, corneal thickness, and corneal diameters in
normal eyes of llamas and alpacas.
Animals—36 llamas and 20 alpacas.
Procedure—Both eyes were examined in each
camelid. Noncontact specular microscopy was used
to determine density of corneal endothelial cells.
Corneal thickness was measured, using ultrasonographic
pachymetry. Vertical and horizontal corneal
diameters were measured, using Jameson calipers.
Results—Values did not differ significantly between
the right and left eyes from the same camelid. There
was no significant effect of sex on density of corneal
endothelial cells or corneal thickness in either
species. Mean density of endothelial cells was 2,669
cells/mm2 in llamas and 2,275 cells/mm2 in alpacas.
Density of endothelial cells decreased with age in llamas.
Polymegathism was observed frequently in both
species. Mean corneal thickness was 608 µm for llamas
and 595 µm for alpacas. Corneal thickness and
density of endothelial cells were negatively correlated
in llamas. Older (> 36 months old) llamas had significantly
larger horizontal and vertical corneal diameters
than younger llamas, and older alpacas had a significantly
larger vertical corneal diameter than younger
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Density of
corneal endothelial cells is only slightly lower in
camelids than other domestic species. Density of
endothelial cells decreases with age in llamas. Age or
sex does not significantly affect corneal thickness in
normal eyes of llamas and alpacas. Specular
microscopy is useful for determining density of
corneal endothelial cells in normal eyes of camelids.
(Am J Vet Res 2002;63:326–329)