Corneal epithelial changes after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy

Am J Ophthalmol. 1993 Apr 15;115(4):441-3. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)74444-7.


We used the specular microscope to investigate corneal epithelial changes after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy. Thirteen patients underwent photorefractive keratectomy on one eye to correct myopia. We observed the central corneal epithelium of each eye at postoperative periods from one to 15 months after photorefractive keratectomy. The fellow eye served as a control. In 11 eyes (85%) the central cornea showed normal epithelial patterns. Two eyes had an abnormal epithelial pattern that included elongated epithelial cells. There were no difference in the mean cell area or coefficient of variation of mean cell area between the treated eyes and the control eyes. These results suggest that permanent destruction of Bowman's membrane caused by photorefractive keratectomy does not affect the morphologic characteristics of the most superficial layer of the corneal epithelium in most eyes. However, the presence of abnormal epithelial cell patterns in two patients should be considered a risk factor for this procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Corneal Diseases / etiology
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Wound Healing