Corneal endotheliopathy is a broad term used to classify several diseases and clinical circumstances that affect the structure and function of the corneal endothelium. Because the endothelium is responsible for maintaining proper corneal hydration, clinically significant corneal endotheliopathies can lead to edema and a loss of transparency.
Common ocular conditions, such as glaucoma, uveitis and Fuchs endothelial dystrophy, may produce changes in the structure and function of the corneal endothelium that result in corneal edema and visual impairment. Specular microscopy is a noninvasive photographic technique that allows you to visualize and analyze the corneal endothelium.
Using computer-assisted morphometry, modern specular microscopes analyze the size, shape and population of the endothelial cells. The instrument projects light onto the cornea and captures the image that is reflected from the optical interface between the corneal endothelium and the aqueous humor. The reflected image is analyzed by the instrument and displayed as a specular photomicrograph.
In clinical practice, specular microscopy is the most accurate way to examine the corneal endothelium.