Epithelial Erosions and Refractive Results After Single-Step Transepithelial Photorefractive Keratectomy and Alcohol-Assisted Photorefractive Keratectomy in Myopic Eyes: A Comparative Evaluation Over 12 Months

Cornea. 2018 Jan;37(1):45-52. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001428.


Purpose: To evaluate the epithelial erosion incidence and refractive results in myopic eyes undergoing single-step transepithelial photorefractive keratectomy (TransPRK) compared with alcohol-assisted photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

Methods: This was a retrospective nonrandomized comparative study conducted at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. A total of 189 eyes that had undergone single-step transepithelial PRK (TransPRK) were compared with 189 matched eyes that had undergone alcohol-assisted PRK over a follow-up of 1 year. The incidence and symptoms of epithelial erosion were evaluated in both treatment groups using a post hoc questionnaire administered to patients selected in the study. Visual and refractive outcomes, including vector analysis of astigmatism, and corneal higher-order aberrations were also compared at 1-year postoperatively.

Results: Baseline characteristics were similar between 2 groups (P > 0.05). A slight difference was detected at 12-month follow-up in the refractive cylinder (P = 0.02) and difference vector (P = 0.01) between eyes that had undergone TransPRK versus alcohol-assisted PRK. All other visual and refractive outcomes were similar at 12-month follow-up between both groups. Of note, 9.9% of patients with alcohol-assisted PRK (10/101) reported to the clinic because of tearing and stabbing sensation within 1 week after contact lens removal as opposed to 1% (1/100) of the TransPRK group (P = 0.0097). Subclinical recurrent epithelial erosion symptoms occurred more frequently in alcohol-assisted PRK: soreness to touch, sharp pains, and eyelid sticking occurred in 26.0% versus 6.6%, 32.5% versus 7.9%, and 26.0% versus 6.6% among the patients who were treated with alcohol-assisted PRK versus those who were treated with TransPRK, respectively (P ≤ 0.002).

Conclusions: Single-step TransPRK for myopic eyes yields refractive results similar to those of alcohol-assisted PRK but shows a lesser incidence of early postoperative epithelial erosions and subsequent subclinical recurrent erosions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Astigmatism / physiopathology*
  • Corneal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Debridement / methods
  • Epithelium, Corneal / physiopathology*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Excimer / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Myopia / surgery*
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy / methods*
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*


  • Ethanol