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      Age-Related Modifications of Corneal Sensitivity

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          Purpose: To evaluate central and peripheral corneal sensitivity (CS) in relation to age. Methods: Five hundred eyes of 320 healthy subjects (185 males and 135 females) were examined. The age of participants ranged from 20 to 90 years. All subjects were divided into 3 groups according to age. CS was assessed with the Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometer in the central cornea and in 8 peripheral points. The averages were used as the values of central and peripheral CS. Results: In the young population, CS was equal in both examined zones (p > 0.05); although, with respect to the periphery after the fifth decade, it was significantly higher in the centre (p < 0.05). Both central and peripheral sensitivity decreased with age (p < 0.05), and such variations are represented by parabolic curves. No differences were observed between males and females. Conclusions: The age-related decrement of CS involves at first the corneal periphery and successively spreads toward the central zone. Topographical distribution and age-related modifications should be considered in clinical investigations of CS, especially in patients who underwent any corneal surgical procedure.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Corneal nerves: structure, contents and function

          Experimental Eye Research, 76(5), 521-542
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            Dry eye after refractive surgery.

            Photorefractive keratectomy and laser in situ keratomileusis can induce or exacerbate dry eye after surgery. This manifests as an increase in degree and frequency of symptoms, corneal findings, such as superficial punctate keratopathy, and abnormal results of dry eye tests, such as the Schirmer test and tear break-up time. The cause mainly involves decreased corneal sensation, resulting in decreased feedback to the lacrimal gland and reduced tear production. Other causes may include increased evaporation, inflammation, or toxicity of medications. Dry eye may result infrequently in impaired wound healing and decreased optical quality of the cornea, but it is transient, lasting from a few weeks up to 1 year. Patients should be warned about this distressing complication. During a period of dry eye, artificial tears and punctal plugs are helpful in preventing or alleviating patient discomfort.
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              Laser in situ keratomileusis-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy.

              To report two cases of laser in situ keratomileusis-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy with punctate epitheliopathy and rose bengal staining of the corneal flap. Interventional case reports. A 42-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man with no preoperative symptoms or signs of dry eye developed dry eye symptoms and bilateral punctate epithelial erosions as well as rose bengal staining of the corneal flaps after laser in situ keratomileusis. Neither patient had less than 12 mm of wetting with the Schirmer test without anesthesia at any time point between development and resolution of the flap surface abnormalities. The flap surface abnormalities resolved approximately 6 months after laser in situ keratomileusis. Laser in situ keratomileusis-induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy may be attributable to loss of trophic influence from severed corneal nerve trunks. The condition typically resolves approximately 6 months after laser in situ keratomileusis or laser in situ keratomileusis retreatment.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2004
                26 July 2010
                : 218
                : 5
                : 350-355
                Ophthalmology Clinic, Department of the Surgical Specialties, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
                79478 Ophthalmologica 2004;218:350–355
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 4, References: 29, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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