Purpose: To compare the release of tear fluid transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) of 15 patients who underwent photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) in one eye and laser subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) in the other eye.
Methods: Tear fluid samples were collected with scaled microcapillary tubes preoperatively (day 0) and on the first, second, and seventh postoperative days. We calculated the release of TGF-beta1 (tear fluid flow-corrected concentrations of TGF-beta1) by multiplying the concentration by capillary tear fluid flow and also evaluated corneal haze at 1, 3, and 6 months after PRK or LASEK.
Results: The median TGF-beta1 release values were: Day 0: 50.6 pg/min (range 0 to 101.6 pg/min) for PRK and 56.7 pg/min (range 0 to 121.8 pg/min) for LASEK (P=.496); Day 1: 240.6 pg/min (range 56.6 to 1120.2 pg/min) for PRK and 155.2 pg/min (range 45.1 to 480.4 pg/min) for LASEK, which showed a significant difference between the two procedures (P=.041); Day 2: 395.7 pg/min (range 92.3 to 1150.7 pg/min) for PRK and 185.2 pg/min (range 41.4 to 872.5 pg/min) for LASEK (P=.004); and Day 7: 91.3 pg/min (range 0 to 225.4 pg/min) for PRK and 74.3 pg/min (range 0 to 187.1 pg/min) for LASEK, (P=.244). The mean corneal haze score at 1 month after PRK was 0.88 +/- 0.50 and 0.53 +/- 0.29 after LASEK, and a statistically significant difference was noted between the two groups (P=.005). At 3 months (P=.083) and 6 months (P=.157) after the procedures, there were no statistically significant differences.
Conclusions: A lower amount of tear fluid transforming growth factor-beta1 was released in the early postoperative days following LASEK than in PRK. The lower grade of corneal haze seen in LASEK than PRK in the early postoperative period may come from a decreased release of TGF-beta1, which may have a role in wound healing.