Purpose: To report the time course for the return of corneal sensation following laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).
Setting: University-based retractive surgery practice.
Methods: Twenty-eight eyes of 18 patients having LASIK were evaluated. Preoperative and postoperative corneal sensation at the nasal flap hinge, at the central cornea, and within the temporal flap edge were measured before and after LASIK for a 3 week period using the Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometer (Luneau).
Results: Corneal sensation initially decreased in all 3 positions of the flap measured after LASIK; the greatest decrease was in the central cornea. Near preoperative corneal sensation returned by 3 weeks. The degree of sensation loss did not appear to correlate with the ablation depth.
Conclusion: Corneal sensation is significantly decreased for approximately 2 to 3 weeks after LASIK, centrally greater than nasally at the flap hinge or temporally within the flap edge, but it generally returns to near the preoperative level by 3 weeks postoperatively.