• corneal hysteresis;
  • corneal optics;
  • Descemet's membrane;
  • keratometry;
  • light scatter;
  • pachymetry


Background:  Prospective interventional animal case series to investigate quantitatively changes in corneal light-scattering, corneal hysteresis, keratometry and pachymetry induced by circular Descemet's membrane incision.

Methods:  Thirty mature New Zealand White rabbits were divided into three study groups: (i) surgical intervention with circular Descemet's incision; (ii) surgical control; and (iii) medical control. Group 1 eyes had two paracenteses placed 120 degrees apart and an 8.5-mm-diameter Descemetorhexis was created with a reverse Sinskey hook. Group 2 eyes had two paracenteses placed 120 degrees apart. The main outcome measures were scatterometry, corneal hysteresis, pachymetry and keratometry measurements, which were performed prior to and 2 weeks following the interventions. Histology and transmission electron microscopy were performed post-mortem in representative eyes.

Results:  Eyes that had undergone circular Descemet's incision had significantly decreased mean keratometry (43.9 ± 0.7 dioptres [mean ± standard deviation] preoperatively vs. 43.5 ± 0.9 dioptres postoperatively, P = 0.007). Circular Descemet's membrane incision did not significantly change corneal hysteresis (4.4 ± 1.1 mmHg preoperatively vs. 4.6 ± 0.9 mmHg postoperatively, P = 0.664). Corneal light scattering decreased after Descemet's scoring (0.00254 ± 0.00059 preoperatively vs. 0.00206 ± 0.00031 postoperatively, P = 0.0025). Pachymetry measurements remained relatively stable (341.3 ± 18.6 µm preoperatively vs. 330.6 ± 20.0 µm postoperatively) without postoperative oedema.

Conclusions:  Circular Descemet's scoring flattened the corneal curvature by a mean of 0.4 dioptres without affecting corneal hysteresis in rabbit corneas. These findings may have important implications for ongoing developments in endothelial keratoplasty.