Is Corneal Thickness Linked to Glaucoma?

The risk of developing glaucoma has been linked to having higher than normal eye pressure or measurement of fluid pressure inside of the eye. Some people can have higher eye pressures, with no glaucoma and some people can have lower eye pressure, with definite glaucoma. However, on average, the higher the eye pressure, the more risk you have of developing glaucoma. It is believed that corneal thickness plays an important role in correctly interpreting eye pressure. The thickness of the cornea, therefore, should be considered when deciding your risk of developing glaucoma.

Eye doctor examination the cornea
IAN HOOTON/SPL / Getty Images

Corneal Thickness

At one time, the corneal thickness was thought to be about the same in all patients. Research, however, suggests that corneal thickness can vary quite dramatically from person to person.

The pressure inside the eye is measured by a device called a "tonometer." The accuracy of the pressure reading, however, may be misleading. Studies have shown that a thinner cornea may result in an artificially low-pressure measurement, while a thicker cornea may result in a measurement that is higher. This possible misreading is important, because a person with a seemingly low pressure (suggesting he has little risk of developing glaucoma) may actually be at high risk and in need of treatment. The person's true eye pressure only appears to be lower due to the thinness of the cornea.

Glaucoma Risk

One thing we know for sure is that pachymetry, the measure of corneal thickness, is an important measurement to collect when assessing a person's risk for glaucoma.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Medeiros FA, Weinreb RN. Is corneal thickness an independent risk factor for glaucoma?. Ophthalmology. 2012;119(3):435-6. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.01.018

  2. Fayed MA, Chen TC. Pediatric intraocular pressure measurements: Tonometers, central corneal thickness, and anesthesia. Surv Ophthalmol. 2019;64(6):810-825. doi:10.1016/j.survophthal.2019.05.003