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Stefan Kassumeh, Jannik K. Luther, Christian M. Wertheimer, Katharina Brandt, Merle S. Schenk, Siegfried G. Priglinger, Andreas Wartak, Gabriela Apiou-Sbirlea, R. Rox Anderson, Reginald Birngruber; Corneal Stromal Filler Injection as a Novel Approach to Correct Presbyopia—An Ex Vivo Pilot Study. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(7):30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.7.30.
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To evaluate the ex vivo feasibility of corneal stromal filler injection to create bifocality to correct presbyopia by flattening the central posterior corneal surface and thus increase refractive power.
Femtosecond laser-assisted corneal stromal pockets of varying diameters close to the posterior corneal curvature were cut into rabbit eyes ex vivo. Subsequently, hyaluronic acid was injected to flatten the central posterior curvature. Refractive parameters were determined using perioperatively acquired three-dimensional optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans. Using micrometer-resolution OCT, corneal endothelial cell morphology and density were evaluated.
Following filler injection into the corneal stromal pockets, a fair volume-dependent increase of central refractive power up to 4 diopters (dpt) was observed. Unremarkable refractive changes of the peripheral posterior (3 mm, 0.20 ± 0.11 dpt; 2 mm, 0.11 ± 0.10 dpt) and the anterior corneal curvature (3 mm, 0.20 ± 0.34 dpt; 2 mm, 0.33 ± 0.31 dpt) occurred. Only negligible changes in astigmatism were observed. Different sizes of optical zones could be established. Furthermore, no alterations of corneal endothelial morphology or endothelial cell density (2831 ± 356 cells/mm2 vs. 2734 ± 292 cells/mm2; P = 0.552) due to the adjacent laser treatment were observed.
The ex vivo investigations proved the principle of injecting a filler material into femtosecond laser-created corneal stromal pockets close to the posterior corneal curvature as an efficacious, individually adjustable, and novel approach to correct presbyopia without ablating corneal tissue.
Due to the aging population worldwide, presbyopia is an increasing problem; thus, our study may encourage further exploration to extend the treatment spectrum of clinically used femtosecond laser systems to correct presbyopia.
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