AIMS To investigate whether corneal autofluorescence is different in patients with choroidal melanoma or choroidal naevus.
METHODS Corneal autofluorescence was determined by fluorophotometry in both eyes of 32 patients with a unilateral choroidal melanoma, 32 patients with a unilateral choroidal naevus, and 32 age matched healthy controls. The corneal autofluorescence ratio between affected and contralateral eyes of patients or between randomly selected eyes of healthy controls was calculated.
RESULTS Mean corneal autofluorescence ratio of patients with a choroidal melanoma was significantly higher than that of healthy controls (mean ratio: 1.09 (SD 0.15) and 1.00 (0.09), respectively, ANOVA p=0.014), and than that of patients with choroidal naevus (mean ratio 0.96 (0.09), p<0.001). Mean ratios of patients with choroidal naevus and healthy controls were not significantly different (p=0.27).
CONCLUSIONS Corneal autofluorescence ratio of patients with a unilateral choroidal melanoma is increased. This is probably due to an increased flow of glucose through the impaired blood-aqueous barrier in the affected eye, resulting in additional glycation of corneal proteins and hence in increased autofluorescence. The corneal autofluorescence is not increased in patients with a choroidal naevus, because the blood-aqueous barrier is not impaired in the affected eye in these patients. Measurement of corneal autofluorescence is simple, fast, and non-invasive, and might be helpful to distinguish between patients with choroidal melanoma and those with choroidal naevus.
- blood-aqueous barrier
- corneal metabolism
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