Purpose: To evaluate the refractive results of excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) performed on normal, sighted myopic eyes; to assess the role of postoperative topical steroid treatment in patients with PRK; and to study the regression of effect.
Methods: An argon fluoride 193-nm excimer laser was used. Photorefractive keratectomy was performed on 420 eyes with preoperative refraction ranging from -1.25 to -7.50 diopters (D). Minimum follow-up time was 12 months, and 194 of the eyes were followed for 15 months. Postoperative treatment generally consisted of topical dexamethasone for 3 months, but in a sub-study, some eyes were treated for only 5 weeks.
Results: Mean refraction (spherical equivalent +/- standard deviation) at 12 months was -0.04 +/- 0.84 D and at 15 months -0.22 +/- 0.78 D. At 12 months postoperatively, 86% of the eyes were within 1.00 D of emmetropia, at 15 months 87%. At 12 months, 91% of the eyes had an uncorrected visual acuity of at least 20/40, at 15 months 87%. Eyes treated with dexamethasone for 3 months regressed significantly less than those treated for only 5 weeks (P < 0.01). Dexamethasone also was effective in reversing regression later in the postoperative course. Eyes with preoperative myopia up to 4.90 D had significantly better refractive results at 12 months than eyes with myopia ranging from 5.00 to 7.50 D (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: These data show that excimer laser PRK can correct myopia with good predictability. Results at 12 and 15 months tend to suggest stability of postoperative refraction. Regression of effect was more common in higher myopes. Topical steroids postoperatively seem to play a crucial role for the refractive result.