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Romesh I. Angunawela, Andri K. Riau, Shyam S. Chaurasia, Donald T. Tan, Jodhbir S. Mehta; Refractive Lenticule Re-Implantation after Myopic ReLEx: A Feasibility Study of Stromal Restoration after Refractive Surgery in a Rabbit Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(8):4975-4985. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10170.
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To investigate the potential of refractive lenticule (RL) storage and re-implantation in vivo as a method for reversing RL extraction (ReLEx) and restoring corneal stromal volume.
ReLEx [−6.00 diopter (D) correction] was performed on six New Zealand White rabbits in one eye. Each extracted RL was tagged and orientated before storage at −80°C for 28 days. Each RL was then re-implanted autologously in the correct orientation after flap relifting. All animals were monitored for 28 days before being euthanized for immunohistochemical analysis. Unoperated fellow eyes were used as controls. All animals had regular pre- and postoperative slit lamp photography, in vivo confocal microscopy, anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT), keratometry, and topography.
No intra-operative complications occurred and RL re-implantation was performed without complication. A mild intrastromal haziness was noted on day 3 after re-implantation (corneal haze grade: 2.20 ± 0.45), but corneas were clear on day 28 (0.20 ± 0.27). RL re-implantation restored central corneal thickness, and keratometric and topographic indices to near pre-operative values. Wound healing processes, marked by fibronectin and tenascin, and a few inflammatory cells were present along the re-implanted lenticular interfaces. No myofibroblasts formation, and Ki67- and TUNEL-positive cells were observed in the corneal stroma on postoperative day 28.
RL storage and re-implantation is a feasible technique for restoring stromal volume after myopic ReLEx, and may provide a method for restoring tissue in ectatic corneas, or provide an opportunity for further refractive surgery and presbyopic treatment.
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