Re-epithelialization in cornea organ culture after chemical burns and excimer laser treatment

Roy S. Chuck, Ashley Behrens, Sarah Wellik, Leacky L.H. Liaw, Arlene M.T. Dolorico, Paula Sweet, Lawrence C. Chao, Kathryn E. Osann, Peter J. McDonnell, Michael W. Berns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the epithelial healing rates observed in freshly cultured rabbit corneas chemically burned with high-concentration hydrochloric acid (HCl) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and subsequently treated with phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK). Methods: We obtained 126 fresh corneoscleral rims from cadaveric New Zealand white rabbits. Each cornea was exposed to 4-mm cellulose sponges soaked in a solution of topical 0.9% isotonic sodium chloride solution, 2M HCl, or 0.5M NaOH. A transepithelial PTK (6-mm zone; 100-μm ablation depth) was then performed using the excimer laser (150-mJ/cm2 energy pulse; 20 nanosecond duration; and 10-Hz frequency). Corneas were placed in tissue culture, and 1 cornea from each group was taken out of culture each day after treatment. Re-epithelialization was monitored by means of fluorescein staining, slitlamp photography, and histopathological analysis. Results: Corneas treated with HCl and NaOH exhibited immediate epithelial defects that slowly healed over time. In PTK-treated corneas, the re-epithelialization rate was accelerated compared with that of controls (P=.003 for the HCl group, and P<.001 for the NaOH group). The new epithelial layers were smoother in PTK-treated corneas, as confirmed by results of histopathological analysis. Conclusion: Corneal damage caused by HCl and NaOH may be modulated in vitro by PTK in this rabbit model. Clinical Relevance: After corneal chemical damage, 193-nm excimer laser PTK accelerates epithelial wound healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1637-1642
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Ophthalmology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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