Purpose: To compare the levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in corneal tissue after 193-nanometer excimer laser keratectomy and mechanical keratectomy with a microkeratome.
Methods: Four rabbits underwent 193-nanometer excimer laser phototherapeutic keratectomy on one eye, and lamellar keratectomy with the microkeratome on the fellow eye. The corneas were harvested at 10 hours after the treatment and quantitated for PGE2 levels using an enzyme-linked immune assay. Control levels of PGE2 in untreated corneas were obtained from a previous study.
Results: Unoperated control corneas had low levels of PGE2 (1.79 +/- 1.0 pg/mL). Both surgical techniques resulted in a significant (p < .01) increase in PGE2. Corneas ablated mechanically with the microkeratome had an average PGE2 level of 15.48 +/-5.36 pg/mL, which represented an 8.6-fold increase compared to control; there was an additional 330% mean increase in PGE2 concentration in the laser-ablated corneas (51.29 +/- 36.08 pg/mL) compared to the corneas treated with mechanical lamellar keratectomy (p = .014).
Conclusions: Mechanical and photochemical superficial keratectomies induce production of an inflammatory mediator, PGE2. The 193-nanometer excimer laser irradiation causes a greater increase of PGE2 production in the corneal tissue than does keratectomy with the microkeratome; this observation may support a role for cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors in postoperative therapy.