Epithelial ingrowth seen increasing in older population

In a small series of eyes, application of a contact lens after LASIK re-treatment procedures did not help prevent epithelial ingrowth, which is counter to the current thinking and what is in the literature.

Key Points

Colin C.K. Chan, MD, FRANZCO, from The Eye Institute, Sydney, Australia, and Brian Boxer Wachler, MD, director of the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute, Los Angeles, found that application of a contact lens increases the clinical incidence of epithelial ingrowth after LASIK re-treatment and appears to have no benefit. Use of a contact lens after LASIK re-treatments, a common treatment practice after the procedure, actually may cause rather than prevent epithelial ingrowth.

The investigators defined epithelial ingrowth as greater than 1.5 mm of epithelial ingrowth from the edge of the flap with visual symptoms or topographic changes, according to Dr. Chan. All patients underwent a LASIK re-treatment procedure with an excimer laser system (LADARVision, Alcon Laboratories).

"The most striking finding was in the contact lens group, in which there was a sudden surge of epithelial ingrowth in four of the 10 patients (40%)," Dr. Chan reported. "While this was a small study, there was a trend toward significance of p = 0.11. This finding was contrary to what we thought was going to happen, because contact lenses have been used to prevent epithelial ingrowth."