Corneal anesthesia or hypesthesia can complicate refractive surgical procedures such as epikeratophakia and radial keratotomy. An esthesiometer was used to measure the corneal sensitivity in unoperated-on corneas and fellow corneas after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy. Decrease in corneal sensitivity was noted within six postoperative weeks, with mean sensitivity being 75.2% ± 13.3% of normal. Within the first three postoperative months, the patients operated on for correction of compound astigmatism recovered 95.7% ± 5.3% of the corneal sensitivity, whereas the patients operated on for correction of severe myopia recovered 86.2% ± 11.2% (P = .07). None of the patients had delayed epithelial healing or recurrent corneal erosions during the time of decreased corneal sensitivity. In otherwise normal myopic eyes, photorefractive keratectomy measurably reduced corneal sensitivity for several postoperative weeks.
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