Objective: To report the incidence and clinical course of a series of patients who developed both delayed-onset, clinically significant progressive haze and myopic regression after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Methods: In this retrospective case series, the charts of 542 consecutive patients who had undergone PRK with the VISX Star Excimer or Nidek EC-5000 laser between July 1996 and October 1998 and who had a minimum of 6 months of follow-up were reviewed. Ten eyes of 8 patients developed progressive haze to greater than 1+ and myopic regression equal to or more than −1 D 3 months or more after PRK. The historical and clinical features were reviewed.
Results: The incidence of combined progressive haze and myopic regression was 1.8%. The average age was 40.5 years. Three of the 8 patients were female. The median spherical equivalent (SE) attempted correction was −6.69 D (range −4.00 to −12.25 D). Five patients who underwent bilateral PRK had unilateral involvement. The mean SE regression was −2.01 ± 0.79 D (range −1.00 to −3.00 D). Regression plateaued at a mean of 9.8 months. Haze ranging up to 4+ peaked at a mean of 7.4 months. Topical steroid treatment and/or epithelial scraping was attempted in 3 eyes but was ineffective.
Conclusions: Combined delayed-onset progressive haze and myopic regression can occur after PRK. In such cases, the amount of haze appears to correlate with the magnitude of attempted initial correction (r = 0.639, P = 0.046) although not with the magnitude of subsequent regression. Patients may need at least 10 months of follow-up to achieve a stable refraction and level of haze. These observations suggest a need for improved understanding of corneal wound healing following PRK and of biologic factors that may contribute to variability in outcomes.