Saxitoxin: An Anesthetic of the Deepithelialized Rabbit Cornea


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Abstract

Purpose.The aim of the current study was to define the efficacy of saxitoxin as a corneal anesthetic in rabbits after mechanical corneal abrasion and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).Methods.Twelve Dutch belted rabbits were given a single 1.2-μg dose of saxitoxin or vehicle after mechanical abrasion of the cornea. Corneal sensation was evaluated hourly for 6 hours. A second group of 12 Dutch belted rabbits was given a 1.2-μg dose of saxitoxin or vehicle every 5 hours for 30 hours after PRK. Corneal sensation was evaluated after 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 hours. Pachometry was performed before PRK and again after the epithelial defects had healed. The rate of epithelial defect closure was assessed by measuring the epithelial defect size 25, 42, 65, 88, and 113 hours after PRK.Results.A dose of 1.2 μg of saxitoxin given every 5 hours produced continuous corneal anesthesia after PRK. There was no difference in the rate of wound healing between eyes treated with saxitoxin and vehicle. There was no difference in the degree of wound healing, as measured by pachometry, between eyes treated with saxitoxin and vehicle. There were no apparent ocular or systemic toxic effects from saxitoxin administration.Conclusion.At a dose of 1.2 μg, saxitoxin is a safe, effective, long-acting corneal anesthetic in rabbits after PRK.

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