Pain management after photorefractive keratectomy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review current concepts regarding the mechanisms of postoperative pain after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and review available treatment options.

Recent findings

Many clinical studies have established the safety and efficacy of different topical and systematic therapeutic agents and techniques for the treatment of postoperative pain after PRK, especially topical nonsteroidal anti inflammatory agents and oral nonsteroidal and narcotic medications. New therapeutic agents and techniques are continuously studied, introducing new agents and comparing teh efficacy of different regimens. Postoperative pain severity varies widely between patients, and no single strategy has been proven best for acute pain management.

Summary

To date, the literature supports the use of topical agents such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and diluted topical anesthetics in combination with oral agents such as opiates and NSAIDs for acute pain management. The use of local agents and techniques is preferred due to their less significant side effect profile. The use of systemic opiate agents is reserved for breakthrough pain.

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