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D. Rosenbaum, D. C. Tran, D. B. Nguyen, H. P. Truong, H. Sun, T. Juhasz, N. Luu, K. L. Le, M. L. Chen, E. K. Wong, Jr.; Corneal Wound Healing Using Femto-second Laser Ablation after Denervation of the Trigeminal Nerve in the Rat. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):912.
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To examine differences in corneal healing rates in eyes treated with trigeminal denervation compared to control eyes. This can serve as a model for corneal wound healing associated with neurotrophic keratopathy and keratitis sicca.
Rats were treated with trigeminal denervation using radiofrequency ablation of the V1-V2 junction as described in a technique to produce an animal model of neurotrophic keratopathy (Wong et al., 2004). Only trigeminal innervation to the left eye was impaired, allowing the right eye to serve as a control. Between three to five days following trigeminal denervation, the corneas were lesioned using an Intralase femtosecond laser creating 3mm-dimater circular lesions at a depth of 100µm. Photographs of the cornea were obtained using fluorescein staining immediately following corneal lesioning, as well as at 24 and 72 hours later. To determine the healing rates, each cornea was graded (blinded) based on the size of the lesion, smoothness of the cornea, and intensity of staining on a scale from 0 to 5. Each image was evaluated by two independent observers. A sample size of 8 rats was used.
No significant difference was observed between the corneas of the denervated and control eyes immediately following laser ablation or 24 hours after ablation. However, the lesions were rated significantly better in the control eye compared to the denervated left eye at 72 hours (p = 0.028). Furthermore, none of the denervated eyes were completely healed at 72 hours, whereas 62.5% of the control eyes were completely healed at that time.
These results are consistent with impaired corneal healing commonly associated with neurotrophic keratopathy and keratitis sicca. This may serve as a model both for examining the effects of denervation of the cornea and dry eye on corneal wound healing, as well as testing possible treatments for corneal damage associated with this new animal model.
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