Effect of the combination of basic fibroblast growth factor and cysteine on corneal epithelial healing after photorefractive keratectomy in patients affected by myopia

Indian J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;62(4):424-8. doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.119420.


Background: This study sought to evaluate the effect of basic fibroblast growth factor eye drops and cysteine oral supplements on corneal healing in patients treated with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

Materials and methods: One hundred and twenty patients treated bilaterally with PRK for myopia were enrolled at one of two eye centers (Clinica Santa Lucia, Bologna, Italy and Department of Ophthalmology, University of Magna Graecia, Catanzaro, Italy) and were treated at the former center. Sixty patients included in the study group (Group 1) were treated postoperatively with topical basic fibroblast growth factor plus oral L-cysteine supplements, whereas 60 subjects included in the control group (Group 2) received basic fibroblast growth factor eye drops. We recorded the rate of corneal re-epithelialization and patients were followed-up every 30 days for 6 months. Statistical analyses were performed on the collected data.

Results: The eyes in Group 1 demonstrated complete re-epithelialization at Day 5, whereas the eyes in Group 2 achieved this status on Day 6. No side-effects were reported.

Conclusions: Patients treated with basic fibroblast growth factor eye drops and L-cysteine oral supplements benefit from more rapid corneal re-epithelialization. In human eyes, this combination treatment appeared to be safe and effective in accelerating corneal surfacing after surgery.

Financial disclosure: No author has any financial or proprietary interest in any material or method used in this study.

Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN73824458.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cysteine / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epithelium, Corneal / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / administration & dosage*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / drug therapy
  • Myopia / surgery*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Cysteine