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Effects of amniotic membrane on epithelial wound healing and stromal remodelling after excimer laser keratectomy in rabbit cornea


AIMS To investigate if the amniotic membrane (AM) promotes epithelial migration while inhibiting stromal remodelling associated with corneal haze after excimer laser keratectomy.

METHODS A wound 150 μm in depth and 6.0 mm in diameter was produced in 40 rabbits using an excimer laser. One eye was randomly chosen to be covered by the AM while the other eye served as a control. Epithelial wound healing was evaluated, together with any morphological changes of the anterior stroma connected with corneal haze. These morphological changes were histopathologically analysed using dichlortriazinyl aminofluorescein (DTAF), Masson trichrome staining, and an image analyser.

RESULTS The AM group had a short latent phase followed by fast epithelial healing (p<0.001) during the early wound healing period and a significant decrease in the inflammatory response, together with a smaller change in the number of keratocytes than the control group. The mean thickness of the regenerated stroma was significantly thinner in the AM group than in the control group at 8 weeks (p<0.0001). The AM group had a more regular architecture of regenerated stromal lamella at 8 weeks and significantly less haze after 4 weeks than the control group (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION Use of the AM as a dressing on a corneal wound created by excimer laser surgery, in which severe haze is expected, may induce rapid epithelial healing with less inflammatory response. The AM may inhibit the irregular synthesis of stromal collagen that is associated with corneal haze.

  • excimer laser keratectomy
  • amniotic membrane
  • stromal remodelling
  • epithelial healing

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  • The authors have no proprietary or financial interests in any of the materials or methods mentioned in this article.

    This work was supported in part by a grant in aid from the Catholic Foundation for Eye Research (CFER), Seoul, Korea.

    Presented in part at the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Manila, Philippines, March 1999.