This study was conducted to investigate the effect of combining extremely low frequency-pulsed electromagnetic field (ELF-PEMF) and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on alkali-burned rabbit corneas. Fifty alkali-burned corneas of 50 rabbits were categorized into five groups: ELF-PEMF therapy with 2 mT intensity (ELF 2) for 2 h daily; LLLT for 30 min twice daily; combined ELF-PEMF and LLLT (ELF + LLLT); medical therapy (MT); and control (i.e., no treatment). Clinical examination and digital photography of the corneas were performed on days 0, 2, 7, and 14. After euthanizing the rabbits, the affected eyes were evaluated by histopathology. The clinical and histopathologic results were compared between the groups. On days 7 and 14, no significant difference in the corneal defect area was evident between the ELF, LLLT, ELF + LLLT, and MT groups. Excluding the controls, none of the study groups demonstrated a significant corneal neovascularization in both routine histopathology and immunohistochemistry for CD31. Keratocyte loss was significantly higher in the MT group than in the ELF, LLLT, and ELF + LLLT groups. Moderate to severe stromal inflammation in the LLLT group was comparable with that in the MT group and was significantly lower than that in the other groups. In conclusion, combining LLLT and ELF was not superior to ELF alone or LLLT alone in healing corneal alkali burns. However, given the lower intensity of corneal inflammation and the lower rate of keratocytes loss with LLLT, this treatment may be superior to other proposed treatment modalities for healing alkali-burned corneas.
Keywords: Alkali burn; Corneal healing; Inflammation; Laser therapy; Magnetic field; Neovascularization.
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