Differentiating Between Contact Lens Warpage and Keratoconus Using OCT Maps of Corneal Mean Curvature and Epithelial Thickness

Elias Pavlatos, Brooke Harkness, Derek Louie, Winston Chamberlain, David Huang, Yan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To formulate an Epithelial Modulation index to differentiate between eyes with contact lens warpage and keratoconus. METHODS: Normal eyes and eyes with either contact lens warpage or keratoconus were scanned by a Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. Maps of epithelial thickness and anterior surface mean curvature were generated and converted to deviation maps by subtracting the average maps from a healthy population. The Epithelial Modulation index was defined as the covariance between the two types of deviation maps. A logistic regression model was used to classify eyes as non-keratoconus (normal or warp-age) or keratoconus (manifest, subclinical, or forme fruste). RESULTS: The average Epithelial Modulation index value for normal eyes was -0.6 ± 1.0 µm/m. Eyes with keratoconus were characterized by coincident high anterior surface mean curvature and low epithelial thickness, resulting in a high Epithelial Modulation index (manifest: 103.0 ± 82.9 µm/m, subclinical: 37.0 ± 23.0 µm/m, forme fruste: 7.3 ± 13.2 µm/m). The Epithelial Modulation index was closer to normal for eyes with warpage (-1.9 ± 4.0 µm/m). The classification accuracy of the Epithelial Modulation index during five-fold cross-validation of the logistic regression model was 100 ± 0% for normal eyes and 99.0 ± 2.0% for eyes with warpage. The accuracy was 100 ± 0%, 100 ± 0%, and 53.1 ± 1.5% for the manifest, subclinical, and forme fruste keratoconus groups, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The Epithelial Modulation index is useful in distinguishing eyes with secondary epithelial modulation (keratoconus) from those with primary epithelial deformation (contact lens-related warpage). [J Refract Surg. 2022;38(2):112-119.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Refractive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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