Alterations in ocular surface and corneal thickness in relation to metabolic control in patients with chronic renal failure


  • None of the authors has a financial or proprietary interest in any method or material mentioned.

Dr Zeynep Aktaş, Barış Sitesi 59. Sokak No: 7, Eskişehir Yolu – Ankara, Turkey. Email:


Aim:  Ocular surface changes and ocular symptoms may be encountered in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) undergoing haemodialysis. The ocular surface changes and its relationship with metabolic control in CRF patients were aimed to be emphasized in this study.

Methods:  Thirty-eight CRF patients (75 eyes) undergoing haemodialysis were enrolled. Patients underwent a complete ocular examination together with Schirmer, tear break-up time tests, pachymetric measurements and conjunctival impression cytologies. Blood calcium, phosphate levels and total body volume changes after haemodialysis were recorded.

Results:  The most common findings were conjunctival calcification with red eye (81.3%) and dry eye (62.7%, according to tear break-up time test) in 75 eyes of 38 patients. Impression cytologies were graded as 0 in 57.3% of eyes and 2–3 in 40% of eyes showing positive correlation with the extent of conjunctival calcification (R = 0.486, P = 0.0001). Serum calcium and phosphate levels were also positively correlated with the degree of conjunctival calcification (R = 0.684, P = 0.0001 and R = 0.428, P = 0.0001, respectively) as well as with the grades of impression cytology (R = 0.587, P = 0.0001 and R = 0.385, P = 0.0001, respectively). Furthermore, the mean corneal thickness decreased significantly (9.31 ± 26.9 μm) following haemodialysis (Paired t-test, P = 0.002).

Conclusion:  Dry eye and irritational symptoms are major ocular symptoms in CRF patients. Serum calcium and phosphate levels seem to have a prognostic importance for the ocular findings and symptoms in patients with CRF.