As a result of aging, the cornea gradually becomes flatter in the vertical meridian, thinner, and slightly less transparent. Its refractive index increases, and the Descemet membrane becomes thicker, increasing from 3 μm at birth to 13 μm in adults. With age, occasional peripheral endothelial guttae, sometimes known as Hassall-Henle bodies, may form (discussed later in the chapter). Age-related attrition of corneal endothelial cells results in a loss of approximately 100,000 cells during the first 50 years of life, from a cell density of about 4000 cells/mm2 at birth to a density of 2500–3000 cells/mm2 in older adults.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 10 - Glaucoma. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.