Patients experience quick recovery of corneal sensation after SMILE
AMSTERDAM — Fewer anterior nerves are cut in the small incision lenticule extraction procedure than in LASIK procedures, resulting in faster recovery of corneal sensation, according to a surgeon.
Using a Visumax femtosecond laser (Carl Zeiss Meditec) to remove the lenticule in the SMILE procedure, surgeons cut deeper into the stromal tissue than is done with LASIK, consequently cutting fewer anterior nerves, Marine Gobbe, MSTOphtom, PhD, told colleagues at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting.
“We wanted to know how that affects corneal sensation,” she said.
Gobbe and colleagues measured corneal sensation in 81 patients before the SMILE procedure and at several time points afterward. Results were compared with values published in nine peer-reviewed literature studies dated since 2003. By averaging data across all the studies, Gobbe and colleagues determined that, for LASIK patients, corneal sensation decreased to almost zero on day 1 postoperatively and slowly recovered over the course of a year.
At day 1 postoperatively in SMILE patients, corneal sensation also decreased, but less so than for LASIK patients, and recovery was quicker, Gobbe said. Corneal sensation returned to preoperative levels in 68% of SMILE patients at 1 month and in 89% of patients at 6 months.
Disclosure: Study lead author Dan Z. Reinstein, MD, has financial interest in ArcScan and is a consultant for Carl Zeiss Meditec AG. Gobe has no relevant financial disclosures.