The Effect of Inlay Implantation on Corneal Thickness and Radius of Curvature in Rabbit Eyes

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Purpose:To study the effect of inlay implantation on corneal shape, assessing the changes using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and a customized image analysis software.Methods:Thirteen rabbit eyes were operated on, with positive-powered corneal inlays implanted into 11 eyes and 2 eyes serving as flap-only controls. Cross-sectional OCT images were obtained using Optovue preoperatively, and 1 hour, 1 week, and 1 month postoperatively. Topography maps were obtained preoperatively using Medmont E300. Image analysis software was built to extract corneal thickness and radius of curvature. Anterior corneal radius of curvature values obtained from the OCT images were compared with the corneal topography maps to assess the validity of the method.Results:Corneal thickness increased more than predicted immediately after the implantation. However, by 1 month, it matched closer to the added thickness of the corneal inlays. An overall pattern of epithelial thinning was observed of up to 25% at 1 month. The anterior corneal surface had steepened up to 15% at 1 month, whereas inconsistent changes for the posterior corneal surface were observed.Conclusions:After corneal inlay implantation, an immediate response was observed in the cornea. Corneal swelling because of surgical trauma was the most likely cause for the observed thickening of the cornea up to 1 week. By 1 month, the epithelial layer measured thinner for most eyes. Most of the added thickness was transferred to the central anterior corneal surface, causing steepening at 1 month. The anterior corneal radius of curvature values obtained from OCT images were in broad agreement with Medmont topography.

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