Objective—To determine density of corneal endothelial cells and corneal thickness in eyes of euthanatized horses.
Sample Population—52 normal eyes from 26 horses.
Procedure—Eyes were enucleated after horses were euthanatized. Eyes were examined to determine that they did not have visible ocular defects. Noncontact specular microscopy was used to determine density of corneal endothelial cells. Corneal thickness was measured, using ultrasonic pachymetry or specular microscopy.
Results—Mean density of corneal endothelial cells was 3,155 cells/mm2. Cell density decreased with age, but sex did not affect cell density. Values did not differ significantly between right and left eyes from the same horse. Cell density of the ventral quadrant was significantly less than cell density of the medial and temporal quadrants. Mean corneal thickness was 893 µm. Sex or age did not affect corneal thickness. Dorsal and ventral quadrants were significantly thicker than the medial and temporal quadrants and central portion of the cornea. We did not detect a correlation between corneal thickness and density of endothelial cells in normal eyes of horses.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Density of corneal endothelial cells decreases with age, but corneal thickness is not affected by age or sex in normal eyes of horses. The technique described here may be useful for determining density of endothelial cells in the cornea of enucleated eyes. This is clinically relevant for analyzing corneal donor tissue prior to harvest and use for corneal transplantation. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:(479–482)