Epithelial healing and ocular discomfort after photorefractive keratectomy in children

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2003 Mar;29(3):478-81. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(03)00010-5.


Objective: To document the rate of healing of the corneal epithelial defect created by photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and the degree of discomfort experienced by children treated with PRK.

Setting: Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA.

Methods: Ten patients between 3 and 10 years of age were treated with PRK for severe anisometropia. All had anisometropic amblyopia refractory to conventional therapy with glasses or contact lenses and occlusion therapy. The size of the corneal epithelial defect was documented daily until the defect healed completely. Postoperative discomfort was documented daily using a pain-assessment scale until the epithelial defect healed completely.

Results: Two children were treated with PRK for hyperopic anisometropia; the rest were treated for myopic anisometropia. Cumulatively, the corneal epithelium had healed completely by day 3 in 6 patients (60%), by day 4 in 9 patients (90%), and by day 5 in all patients. The mean healing time was 3.5 days. Patients experienced mild discomfort on the day of surgery and on the first postoperative day. They had minimal pain on day 2. After day 2, no patient reported pain or other discomfort.

Conclusions: The corneal epithelial defect created by PRK healed promptly and was associated with minimal postoperative discomfort in children treated with the protocol described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisometropia / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperopia / surgery
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Male
  • Myopia / surgery
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / physiopathology*
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Acuity
  • Wound Healing*