Background: Recurrent corneal erosions can occur as a sequel of trauma, of dystrophies or spontaneously. Therapeutic options include topical lubricating and desiccating agents, therapeutic contact lenses, anterior stromal puncture and, most recently, phototherapeutic keratectomy. At present there are no studies available assessing the value of these different therapeutic options.
Methods: Fifteen eyes of 12 patients underwent therapeutic excimer photoablation after failure of other forms of treatment (lubricating agents in all cases, therapeutic contact lenses in 8, anterior stromal puncture in 2). Ablation depth was 5 microns, except in patients with stromal dystrophy or myopia (6 eyes), who had a deeper ablation.
Results: After a first photokeratectomy 9 eyes remained asymptomatic (mean follow-up 12.8 months), 2 eyes had persistent symptoms and 4 had recurrent corneal erosions after 1-24 months. The chance of success after one treatment was 60% after 12 months as calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method.
Conclusions: The method of photoablation as applied in this study has a similar chance of success to other surgical methods such as anterior surgical stromal puncture. Patients included in this study, however, were highly selected and were refractory to other forms of treatment.