Corneal nerve regeneration in neurotrophic keratopathy following autologous plasma therapy
AIMS To evaluate the effect of topical autologous plasma on nerve morphology in patients with neurotrophic keratopathy (NK) using the confocal microscope. METHODS Eleven eyes of six patients with neurotrophic keratopathy were evaluated for this study. Corneal fluorescein staining was done, and corneal sensitivity measurements were done with the Cochet-Bonnet and modified Belmonte gas aesthesiometers. The Heidelberg Retina Tomograph 2 Rostock Cornea Module laser scanning confocal microscope was used to image the corneal surface and subepithelial neural plexus. Four images at the level of the subepithelial nerve plexus in the central cornea were randomly selected for analysis of the corneal nerves. Topical autologous plasma was used six to eight times per day. RESULTS The best-corrected visual acuity improved significantly after plasma treatment in all patients (p=0.003). The mean corneal fluorescein staining score significantly decreased after treatment (p=0.0003). There was a significant increase in corneal sensitivity measured by Cochet-Bonnet (p<0.0001) and modified Belmonte (p=0.01) aesthesiometers. The mean number, length, width and density of subepithelial nerves increased significantly after plasma treatment (p=0.0002). CONCLUSION In vivo confocal microscopy examination revealed preliminary evidence for improvement of corneal nerve findings suggesting efficacy of autologous plasma treatment in neurotrophic keratopathy.