Purpose: To assess the long-term sequelae, principally time-to-first-recurrence, of phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) for the treatment of recurrent corneal erosion syndrome (RCES).
Methods: A retrospective case series was performed. Thirty-nine eyes in 33 patients with RCES required PTK and were treated using the VISX STAR Excimer Laser System. The data were analyzed with the Kaplan-Meier survival estimate.
Results: Patients were characterized by the cause of their RCES. More than 50% had epithelial corneal dystrophies, 31% were posttraumatic, and 15% were idiopathic. Overall, 25% of eyes had a recurrence by 3 months, and 36% had a recurrence by 9 months. The mean follow-up time was 17.4 months (range, 0.4-67.6 months). Of those who had a primary recurrence, 38% had a second and 15% had a third. Visual acuity was slightly decreased within 2 weeks after surgery, and 10% of patients developed transient haze. No serious adverse effects were reported.
Conclusion: PTK is an important treatment of RCES refractory to other therapies. Long-term data suggest that most patients treated with PTK do not develop recurrences, and side effects from PTK are minimal.