Association between donor corneal endothelial cell counts and infectious agent reactivity: an eye bank database analysis

Bella J. Wolf, Ji Won Kwon, Gabriel M. Rand, Jimmy K. Lee, Patrick K. Gore, Moonseong Heo, Roy S. Chuck


Background: To evaluate the association between corneal central endothelial cell count (CECC) with reactivity for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T-lymphotropic virus-1 (HTLV1), and syphilis from an eye bank database.
Methods: Eye bank data included 19,159 donors and 38,318 corneas screened for HBV, HCV, HIV, HTLV1, and syphilis from July 2007–May 2015. Linear and binary mixed effects models were used to determine the adjusted marginal effect a positive viral screening test had on CECC and morphology, respectively. The models were adjusted for age, race, gender, lens status, and death to preservation. Eyes with missing data were excluded from the analysis. Statistical significance was defined as P values <0.05.
Results: A total of 18,097 donors and 35,136 corneas were included in the final analysis. Average CECC for eyes with negative viral screening was 2,597±436 while the average CECC for eyes screening positive for syphilis, HBV, HCV, HIV, and HTLV1 were 2,638±392 (P=0.073), 2,569±419 (P=0.815), 2,603±363 (P=0.207), 2,615±360 (P=0.733), and 2,625±436 (P=0.362) respectively.
Conclusions: The presence of HBV, HCV, HIV, HTLV1, and syphilis display no association with a statistically significant difference in CECC when compared to normal non-diseased donors.