Electron Microscopic Findings in a Cornea with Recurrence of Herpes Simplex Keratitis after Excimer Laser Phototherapeutic Keratectomy

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Excimer laser phototherapeutic keratectomy is emerging as an alternative therapy to corneal transplantation for the treatment of multiple corneal diseases. We report three cases of recurrence of herpes simplex keratitis after treatment of herpetic corneal scars with the excimer laser. In two cases, the patients underwent subsequent corneal transplantation. One corneal button examined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrated a well-differentiated epithelium over the area of ablation, a linear, continuous basal lamina, and no viral particles. Anterior stromal scarring may have resulted from the laser treatment itself or may represent incomplete ablation of previous scars. Whether reactivation of the virus was stimulated by the laser or occurred as part of the natural history of the disease is uncertain. We recommend that patients who undergo excimer laser treatment for herpes simplex scarring receive careful follow-up including antiviral coverage

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