The corneal epithelium in eight patients was surveyed by biomicroscopy and specular microscopy before and after the intraepikeratophakia procedure. Autografting of the epithelium was also examined by electron microscopy. Although the superficial layer of the epithelium was damaged, the wing cell layer remained intact, contributing to the epithelialization of the cornea. Epithelialization of the cornea after surgery was completed in three das in all cases. The epithelium was stained with fluorescein, revealing abnormalities in the superficial layer. This stained superficial epithelium was replaced with new epithelium within seven days, but the new, unstained epithelium exhibited an abnormal pattern when observed under the specular microscope. Abnormally shaped cells, cells with nuclei, and white cells were observed, and normal maturation of the epithelial cells was disrupted. These abnormalities lasted more than eight months in three patients. Patient selection and careful follow-up is advised because of the abnormalities of the epithelium.
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