Morning-to-evening change in refraction, corneal curvature, and visual acuity 11 years after radial keratotomy in the prospective evaluation of radial keratotomy study. The PERK Study Group

P J McDonnell, A Nizam, M J Lynn, G O Waring
Ophthalmology 1996, 103 (2): 233-9

PURPOSE: Previous reports demonstrate morning-to-evening changes in ophthalmic measurements at 3 months, 1 year, and 4 years after radial keratotomy. The authors determine whether diurnal change in refractive error persists 11 years after radial keratotomy surgery in the Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy (PERK) study.

METHODS: Seventy-one patients were examined in the morning and evening a mean of 11.1 +/- 0.6 years (range, 10-12.7 years) after undergoing radial keratotomy under a standardized protocol using a diamond blade.

RESULTS: Between the morning and evening examinations, the mean change in the spherical equivalent of refraction was a 0.31 +/- 0.58-diopter (D) increase in minus power in first eyes. Thirty-six (51%) eyes had an increase in minus power of the manifest refraction of 0.50 to 1.62 D; 22 (31%) had a change in refractive cylinder power of 0.50 to 1.25 D; 9 (13%) had a decrease in uncorrected visual acuity of two to seven Snellen lines; and 25 (35%) showed central corneal steepening measured by keratometry of 0.50 to 1.94 D. Two (3%) eyes lost two lines of spectacle-corrected visual acuity, whereas one (1%) eye gained two lines. In patients whose both eyes underwent surgery, a high degree of symmetry was observed in morning-to-evening refractive change.

CONCLUSION: In some patients after radial keratotomy, morning-to-evening change of refraction and visual acuity persists for at least 11 years, although in most patients the magnitude of this change is small. Thus, diurnal fluctuation may be a permanent sequela of radial keratotomy in some individuals.

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