Background: After photorefractive keratectomy using excimer lasers (193 nm), most corneas show a marginal loss of transparency (haze) and the assessment of its magnitude in clinical studies has been subjective. To address this problem, we have developed a new device for the objective measurement of haze by measuring corneal light scattering.
Methods: A CCD-camera was fixed at 40 degrees to a slit-lamp microscope and connected via frame-grabber to a computer. By incorporating polarizing filters, the system could discriminate between reflected and scattered light. The intensity of light coming from the cornea was measured in gray scale levels using in-house image analysis software. The system was calibrated against three different sizes of microspheres (0.25, 0.50, and 5.00 microns) which corresponded to the size of cellular and extracellular elements known to occur at sites of corneal surgery. Data were obtained from three treated human eyes with measurements before treatment and at five different postoperative intervals with a maximum follow up of 4 months.
Results: All three sizes of microspheres caused disturbances in gray scale levels (36 to 255 units) in the same range of those observed in corneal measurements. Disturbances in corneal light scattering were noted from 1 week postoperatively and persisted throughout the period of observation. We observed an increase in reflected and scattered light until the 2nd postoperative month followed by a subsequent decline.
Conclusions: It appears that this device is very useful to defect and measure objectively disturbances in corneal transparency after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy.