Corneal Biomechanical Changes After Trabeculectomy and the Impact on Intraocular Pressure Measurement

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate corneal biomechanical changes induced by trabeculectomy and their impact on intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements.

Materials and Methods:

In total, 35 eyes of 35 consecutive glaucoma patients undergoing first-time trabeculectomy with mitomycin C were enrolled in this prospective interventional case series. Goldmann applanation tonometry (GAT) IOP, central corneal thickness, axial length, and Ocular Response Analyzer measurements [Goldmann-correlated IOP (IOPg), corneal-compensated IOP (IOPcc), corneal hysteresis (CH), and corneal resistance factor (CRF)] were assessed before and 6 months after uncomplicated trabeculectomy. Linear mixed models were used to compare the parameters before and after surgery.

Results:

IOP, central corneal thickness, and axial length showed a strong correlation with CH and CRF preoperatively and postoperatively. After adjusting for these influencing factors, CH changed from 7.75±1.46 to 7.62±1.66 mm Hg (P=0.720) and CRF from 8.67±1.18 to 8.52±1.35 mm Hg (P=0.640) after trabeculectomy, but these changes were not statistically significant. IOP decreased statistically significantly with all IOP measurements (P=0.001). IOPcc was statistically significantly higher than GAT (4.82±5.24 mm Hg; P=0.001) and IOPg (2.92±1.74 mm Hg; P=0.001) preoperatively and postoperatively (GAT, 3.29±3.36 mm Hg; P=0.001; IOPg, 3.35±1.81 mm Hg; P=0.001). The difference between IOPcc and GAT (P=0.5) and IOPcc and IOPg (P=0.06) did not change significantly before or after trabeculectomy.

Conclusions:

Despite a marked IOP reduction and a possible weakening of the ocular walls after trabeculectomy, corneal structural tissue properties are not altered, and therefore, the accuracy of IOP measurements is not changed postoperatively. It seems likely, however, that Goldmann-correlated IOP measurements are underestimated in glaucoma patients before and after surgery.

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