Purpose: Given that the standard keratometric refractive index of 1.3375 is no longer valid after excimer laser surgery, we aimed to investigate how this value changes postoperatively and if any correlation to the attempted correction exists.
Methods: The pre- and postoperative data of 98 patients who underwent either myopic photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or LASIK were reviewed. Using postoperative videokeratography, the corneal radius (r) was obtained; the corrected corneal power (Pc) was measured by separately calculating the dioptric power of the anterior and posterior corneal surfaces. The postoperative index of refraction (n(post)) was derived from these values using the formula: n(post) = (rPc) +1.
Results: As the amount of refractive change increases, n(post) progressively decreases (P < .0001, r = 0.9581). Linear regression provided the subsequent formula to calculate the postoperative index of refraction: n(post) = 1.338 + 0.0009856 x attempted correction.
Conclusions: Myopic PRK and LASIK induce a decrease in the keratometric refractive index. This reduction correlates to the amount of attempted correction. When the latter is known, calculating n(post) may enable the measurement of corneal power and thus provide an additional method for calculating intraocular lens power in eyes that have undergone myopic PRK or LASIK.