Changes in Corneal Sensation, Epithelial Damage, and Tear Function After Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty

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Abstract

Purpose:

To study the ocular surface changes in eyes after Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) compared with those after penetrating keratoplasty (PKP).

Methods:

This prospective study compared the changes in 31 eyes of 28 patients who underwent DSAEK (DSAEK group) with those in 15 disease-matched eyes of 15 patients who underwent PKP (PKP group). Corneal epithelial integrity was evaluated using a fluorescein staining score. Corneal sensation was measured with a Cochet–Bonnet esthesiometer. Tear function was evaluated using the Schirmer test, tear clearance test, tear function index, and tear break-up time.

Results:

The postoperative fluorescein staining score was significantly higher in the PKP group than in the DSAEK group (P = 0.02). Postoperative corneal sensation was significantly better in the DSAEK group than in the PKP group (P < 0.01). Corneal sensation after DSAEK was significantly better than the preoperative value (P = 0.02). There were no statistically significant changes in the Schirmer test, tear clearance test, tear function index, or break-up time before and after the surgery in both the DSAEK and PKP groups. No significant differences were observed between the DSAEK and PKP groups after the surgery.

Conclusions:

Corneal sensation was preserved, and epithelial damage was less severe after DSAEK compared with PKP. Preservation of corneal sensation may contribute to the early recovery of visual function and long-term maintenance of ocular surface health after DSAEK.

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