Purpose: To determine the accuracy of applanation tonometry in patients with corneas thinned by photorefractive keratectomy, and to correlate corneal changes with tonometric readings.
Methods: The intraocular pressure was measured with Goldmann applanation tonometry in 87 patients who underwent photorefractive keratectomy before and 1, 6 and 12 months after treatment. The treatments ranged from -1.5 to -14 diopters (mean=-7.6+/-4.1 diopters) and the fellow eyes were used as controls.
Results: In the treated eyes the intraocular pressure before surgery ranged from 11 to 26 mmHg (mean=17.7+/-2.8 mmHg). One month after surgery it ranged from 5 to 22 mmHg (mean=11.9+/-2.7 mmHg) with a significant underestimation (P=1x10(-33)). Six months after surgery it ranged from 6 to 22 mmHg (mean=12+/-3 mmHg) with a significant underestimation (P=5x10(-30)). Twelve months after surgery it ranged from 8 to 22 mmHg (mean=12.7+/-2.7 mmHg) with a significant underestimation (P=5x10(-31)).
Conclusions: A correcting factor should be applied when using applanation tonometry to measure intraocular pressure in patients who have undergone PRK.