Objective: To correlate corneal light scattering with keratocyte and extracellular matrix reformation after laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Setting: Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Methods: Sixteen pigmented rabbit eyes were randomly divided into 2 groups. Group 1 (n = 8) had a 5.0 mm, -10.0 diopter (D) LASIK treatment and Group 2 (n = 8), a 5.0 mm, -10.0 D surface PRK treatment after mechanical epithelial debridement. The stromal surface exposed at surgery was stained with dichlorotriazinylaminofluorescein (DTAF) solution. Slitlamp biomicroscopic and objective measurement of corneal light scattering using a scatterometer were performed 1 and 2 days and 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after surgery. In each group, 2 corneas were harvested at 1 week and 1 month and 4 corneas were harvested at 12 weeks. Tissue sections were examined by light and fluorescence microscopy. The percentage of newly formed stromal tissue was calculated and correlated with the scatterometry index.
Results: In Group 1, corneas remained clear and healed without significant scarring throughout the study. In Group 2, subepithelial scarring was noted. Extracellular matrix reformation peaked at 1 month and showed a slight regression thereafter. The percentage of extracellular matrix reformation was strongly correlated with the scatterometry index (r = .86, P < .001).
Conclusions: In this study, significant subepithelial stromal tissue reformation followed PRK. The percentage of extracellular matrix reformation correlated well with the objective corneal light scattering measurements.