Purpose: Topical steroid use is usually avoided in cases of corneal epithelial defect. We evaluated the effect of topical steroid treatment on corneal epithelial healing after epithelial debridement in vitreoretinal surgery.
Methods: Our study population included 85 eyes undergoing vitreoretinal surgeries in our clinic. We prospectively compared the duration of corneal epithelial wound healing in 43 eyes in which topical dexamethasone was used with that in 42 eyes in which topical dexamethasone was not used in the early postoperative period after epithelial debridement. Factors that may retard corneal epithelial healing, including pre- and intraoperative topical solutions, median operative time, the presence of diabetes mellitus, prior ocular surgeries, pseudophakia, aphakia and the presence of intraocular gas or silicone oil in aphakic patients, were not significantly different between the two groups.
Results: The mean corneal epithelial defect closure time was 59.7 +/- 2.6 hours (mean +/- SEM) in the group receiving topical steroid treatment, and 61.9 +/- 2.6 hours in the group that did not receive steroids.
Conclusion: Topical dexamethasone administered five times/day did not significantly retard corneal epithelial healing in subjects undergoing vitreoretinal surgery with postoperative topical steroid treatment, compared with subjects who did not receive steroid treatment.