To clarify the relationship between morphological changes in the corneal endothelium and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, specular microscopic examinations were performed on both eyes of 118 welders and 85 controls. The results showed: a decrease in the hexagonal cells in welders (20-29 years) in comparison with the controls (20-29) (p less than 0.05); an increase in the mean cell size of the endothelium and a decrease in the hexagonal cell population with increasing age in both groups; increases in standard deviation (SD) and the coefficient of variation (CV) of the mean cell size in both groups; increases in SD and CV of the mean number of cell cell sides in both groups; and no difference in the mean cell size between the two groups. These results show that UV radiation damages not only the corneal epithelium but also the endothelium, and suggest that it causes more pleomorphic change (a decrease in hexagonal cell population) than enlargement of the mean cell size.
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