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Eyes May Recover Faster After LASEK Than from LASIK

Patients undergoing laser epithelial keratomileusis recover corneal sensation more quickly

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Eyes that undergo laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) may regenerate corneal nerves more slowly after surgery than eyes undergoing laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Seung Jae Lee, M.D., of Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, and colleagues compared changes in corneal nerve fibers and keratocyte density in 28 patients after bilateral LASIK and in 26 patients who had undergone bilateral LASEK.

The researchers found that six months after surgery, LASIK patients had less corneal sensitivity compared with preoperative levels. LASEK patients had reduced corneal sensation immediately after the procedure, but had returned to preoperative levels by the three-month evaluation. The two groups also had different numbers of subbasal nerve fibers and keratocyte density, the researchers report.

"The greater decrease in the number of subbasal nerve fibers in the LASIK group compared with the LASEK group may relate to the greater decrease in corneal sensitivity," the authors write. "The pattern of corneal nerve regeneration and the recovery of corneal sensation after LASEK did not differ greatly from that after photorefractive keratectomy in previous studies."

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