Background: Variation in healing response has been noted after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 116 eyes that underwent PRK for myopia was performed. Standard surgical protocol and postoperative corticosteroid treatment were followed for all eyes. Scattergrams of achieved correction versus attempted correction at 6 months after surgery were analyzed. Subepithelial corneal haze was compared with refractive outcome.
Results: Three healing responses were observed. Normal responders (84.5%) showed a hyperopic overcorrection at 1 month with a gradual regression toward plano and good refractive outcome. Inadequate responders (11.2%) showed a pronounced early hyperopic overcorrection (greater than 1.50 diopters [D]) with minimal regression at 6 months. Aggressive responders (4.3%) displayed an early overcorrection with rapid regression toward myopia. Clear to trace subepithelial corneal haze was present at 6 months in 96% of normal and inadequate responders. Aggressive responders had more pronounced subepithelial haze at 6 months.
Conclusion: Variation in the amount of subepithelial healing response occurs after excimer laser PRK. Abnormal healing responses may be detected early in the postoperative period by correlation of refractive error with the amount of subepithelial haze.