Purpose: To determine the central corneal thickness (CCT) and its demographic associations among Aboriginal people attending eye clinics in remote South Australia.
Methods: A clinic-based cross-sectional study was conducted involving opportunistic sampling of patients. Eligible participants underwent measurement of CCT by ultrasound pachymetry. The results were compared with a group of Caucasian control patients.
Results: All patients (189) who were invited to participate in the study had their CCT measured. The mean age was 44.8 ± 14.5 years, and women comprised 57.7% of the sample. The control group consisted of 115 Caucasian participants. The mean age was 47.1 ± 14.8 years, and women accounted for 55.7% of the sample. Mean CCT for Aboriginal participants was 514.9 ± 30.5 μm in the right eye and 515.6 ± 30.5 μm in the left eye (t = 1.1, P = 0.3). Mean right CCT for Caucasian participants was 544.6 ± 31.9 μm and mean left CCT in this group was 547.1 ± 32.2 μm (t = 4.6, P < 0.001). There was a significant difference between the right (t = 8.4, P < 0.001) and left (t = 8.8, P < 0.001) CCT of Aboriginal and Caucasian participants.
Conclusions: The CCT among Aboriginal patients attending eye clinic in remote South Australia was significantly thinner than that of a Caucasian control group. Thinner corneas among this group of Aboriginal patients may indicate a need to adjust intraocular pressure according to CCT and to be more vigilant for glaucoma.