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Cornea. 1997 Mar;16(2):158-61.

Corneal temperature changes during photorefractive keratectomy.

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Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, England.



Corneal temperature changes in photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) have been implicated in the aetiology of subepithelial haze. This study was undertaken to quantify the temperature change during this surgical procedure.


Non-contact, colour-coded ocular thermography was performed by using an infrared detection system during PRK on a group of 12 subjects.


Mean (+/-SD) central ocular surface temperature (OST) after epithelial debridement was 29.15 +/- 0.39 degrees C. Mean peak OST during PRK was 37.77 +/- 0.67 degrees C, with most of the temperature increase occurring during the first 15 s. Factors such as ablation depth, optical correction, and procedure duration were not demonstrated to have a significant effect on corneal temperature during the procedure, suggesting a complex relation between-PRK parameters and the change in corneal temperature.


Previous work suggested that corneal collagen denatures at approximately 39 degrees C, and it has been demonstrated that corneal temperature may be elevated to this level during routine PRK. Further research is indicated into the effects of preoperative cooling and pausing in treatment to reduce temperature changes.

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