Can Corneal nerves regrow after LASIK?

What is LASIK

LASIK surgery is used to treat vision loss in the eyes. This surgery is commonly known as laser eye surgery or laser eye correction. Sufferers or candidates receive this treatment through myopia, hypermetropia, farsightedness, etc. Refractive surgery is the term used to describe this procedure. Individuals or candidates who want to get rid of glasses or lenses can get this LASIK surgery done. According to the ophthalmologist, this surgery gives the eye’s cornea a proper shape. The laser is the primary tool that shapes the cornea and improves its refractive power, which improves vision.

Since its introduction into the field of ophthalmology, it has been used in more than 16 million surgeries worldwide, making it the most performed surgical procedure. However, its widespread use does not imply that every case is successful. The translocation of the corneal nerve plexus is the most frequent adverse reaction to any laser procedure.

The risk of LASIK surgery

 Although LASIK is considered safe and effective, there are side effects. All laser-based refractive surgery techniques cause some degree of corneal nerve injury. This denervation can have effects ranging from minor discomfort to neurotrophic corneas. There are infrequent complications that cause vision loss. However, some LASIK side effects are typical, notably dry eyes and transient vision issues like glare. Few people think these are long-term issues, but they typically go away within a few weeks or months.

What are Corneal nerves?

The blink reflex wound healing, and the production and secretion of tears are all significantly influenced by corneal nerves, which also sense touch, pain, and temperature. They significantly impact the activation of protective reflexes like tearing, blinking, and aversion to noxious stimuli. Diseases that result in opacities and corneal blindness frequently have dysfunctional corneal nerves.

What happens to corneal nerves in LASIK?

In the first month following surgery, the quantity and density of subbasal nerves decreased by more than 90%. Six months after surgery, they started to recover, and by two years, they had returned to a level that was hardly different from preoperative levels. However, the number and density again decreased between the second and third years postoperatively; by the third year, they were less than 60% of pre-LASIK levels.

Can Corneal nerves regrow after LASIK?

Corneal nerves regrow after LASIK, but the time it takes to regrow differs in different patients. Studies have proved that they start to grow in 6 months are by two years, they grow entirely.

LASIK is considered superior to PRK for correcting moderate and high myopia, as it leaves no corneal haze in the optical axis after surgery. 19 However, because the LASIK flap is larger than the area of ablation in PRK, LASIK causes more damage to corneal nerves than PRK. As a result, sensory thresholds initially rise. Corneal sensitivity returns within the first 6 to 12 months after LASIK. Results show, however, that during this recovery, the number of stromal flaps still has fewer nerve fiber bundles than before surgery, and they return to the subbasal region. According to other studies, the time it takes for LNE to resolve, in most cases, the nerves regenerate after LASIK in about six months.

That was believed for the majority of patients. It’s crucial to emphasize that none of the study participants had dry eyes before surgery. The selection criterion for this study was that they were all completely normal patients. If a patient has an existing dry eye before LASIK, they are much more likely to get this condition, and it’s more likely to be severe. It typically goes away at six months, and they return to their baseline dry eye.

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