Corneal Neurotization for Postherpetic Neurotrophic Keratopathy: Initial Experience and Clinical Outcomes
Kim, Jane S.; Rafailov, Leon; Leyngold, Ilya M.Read More
To assess early outcomes of corneal neurotization for postherpetic neurotrophic keratopathy (NK).
Retrospective analysis of patients who underwent corneal neurotization for postherpetic NK by a single experienced oculoplastic surgeon was performed. Collected data included stage and etiology of NK as well as comorbidities, prior treatment history, neurotization technique, donor nerve site, preoperative and postoperative examination findings (i.e., ocular surface quality, corneal clarity, corneal sensation by Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometry, and visual acuity [VA]), and follow-up duration. Differences between preoperative and postoperative values were analyzed by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Of 23 adult patients who underwent corneal neurotization, 3 (13%) had history of herpes simplex keratitis and/or endotheliitis, and 4 (17%) had history of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. One patient with herpes zoster ophthalmicus was excluded due to inadequate follow-up duration. Of the 6 patients included in the study, 3 (50%) had Mackie stage 1 disease, 1 (17%) had stage 2, and 2 (33%) had stage 3 with impending perforation, but all had markedly diminished corneal sensation, with a median denervation time of 11.8 months (interquartile range [IQR] 9.4–29.2 months). Following neurotization, median corneal sensation improved significantly from 1.6 cm (interquartile range 0.0–1.9 cm) to 3.6 cm (IQR 3.0–5.6 cm, p = 0.028), with 1 patient achieving full sensation by postoperative month 5. All patients with a persistent epithelial defect preoperatively showed complete corneal healing by their last follow-up visit. VA also improved postoperatively in all patients (p = 0.028). Median follow-up duration was 11.3 months (interquartile range 9.6–17.9 months).
Corneal neurotization can successfully reinnervate corneas previously devitalized by herpetic disease and halt the progressive nature of postherpetic NK. If utilized appropriately and early in the disease process, neurotization may reduce morbidity and maximize visual potential in postherpetic NK.