Purpose To examine corneal higher-order aberrations (HOAs) and visual improvement following corneal transplantation in treating corneal scar caused by herpes simplex keratitis (HSK). Design Retrospective consecutive case series. Methods This study included a total of 52 eyes: 18 eyes of normal subjects, and 34 eyes of consecutive patients with corneal scar owing to HSK who underwent penetrating keratoplasty (PKP, 17 eyes) or deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK, 17 eyes). HOAs of the anterior, posterior surfaces and the total cornea were analyzed by anterior segment optical coherence tomography. The correlations between corneal HOAs and visual improvement were also analyzed. Results Mean logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution (logMAR) visual acuity significantly improved from 1.40 ± 0.70 to 0.46 ± 0.45 after corneal transplantation (P <.0001). Mean corneal HOAs of the anterior surface significantly decreased after corneal transplantation (PKP: from 1.16 ± 0.59 μm to 0.58 ± 0.35 μm, P =.035, DALK: from 0.94 ± 0.57 μm to 0.37 ± 0.18 μm, P =.004). Visual acuity following corneal transplantation was correlated with the corneal HOAs at 12 months (r = 0.53, P =.01). Visual improvement at 3, 6, and 12 months was positively correlated with preoperative HOAs of the total cornea and posterior surface (all P <.01). Conclusions Preoperative corneal HOAs were associated with the visual improvement in treating corneal scar caused by HSK. Thus, the preoperative assessment of corneal HOAs, especially of the posterior surface, is important in the decision to perform corneal transplantation in eyes with HSK.
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