Changes in posterior corneal curvature after photorefractive keratectomy

Shehzad A. Naroo*, W. Neil Charman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine whether myopic ablation by excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) affects only the anterior curvature of the cornea or whether changes also occur in the posterior corneal curvature.

Department of Optometry and Neuroscience, UMIST, and Optimax Laser Eye Clinic, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Sixteen patients who presented for correction of myopia in 1 eye by excimer laser PRK were followed for 3 months. Only newly presenting patients were recruited, and the untreated eyes were used as controls. The patients were examined at the initial visit (0 week) and 6 and 12 weeks post-PRK. Measurements included Orbscan topography and pachymetry, autokeratometry, and ultrasound pachymetry.

The mean patient age of the 8 men and 8 women was 29.6 years ± 8.6 (SD) (range 20 to 47 years). The attempted mean spherical equivalent correction was between −1.73 and −6.43 diopters. Anterior corneal curvature and corneal thickness in the treated eyes changed systematically in relation to the amount of ablation. Posterior corneal curvature steepened in relation to the dioptric power treated. There were systematic differences between the pachymetry values obtained with the Orbscan and the ultrasound pachymeter.

The results suggest that after myopic PRK, the thinner, ablated cornea may bulge forward slightly to steepen both anterior and posterior curvatures. This may account for the regression toward myopia that is typically found in the first few days posttreatment. The forward bulging is similar to the corneal relaxation effects observed after radial keratotomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-8
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2000


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