Corneal nerve damage after laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) is thought to be the cause of dry eye and pain. Therefore, we investigated whether taking pregabalin (Lyrica), which reduces peripheral neuropathic pain, alleviates corneal nerve sensitivity after surgery and reduces dry eye and pain.
Patients were treated with pregabalin (150 mg two times a day for 15 days) from the day before surgery onward and compared with those who did not receive the medications. Before surgery, the severity of dry eye was assessed. Then, corneal sensitivity was assessed by esthesiometry and pain was assessed according to the Visual Analogue Scale. Images of the sub-basal nerve plexus were analysed using confocal microscopy to evaluate nerve regeneration at 6 months.
Forty eyes in the pregabalin group and 40 eyes in the control group were included in this study. No significant differences regarding the severity of dry eye, corneal sensitivity test results and nerve fibre density existed between the two groups until 6 months. The pregabalin group showed significantly reduced pain at 1 week.
Taking pregabalin during LASEK surgery may affect corneal nerve sensitivity and reduce pain. However, for up to 6 months thereafter, corneal sensitivity and nerve fibre density are not significantly different from findings in the control group, so pregabalin does not seem to affect nerve regeneration or structural changes.
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