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A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial was conducted in five centers to assess safety, ocular tolerance, and efficacy of an ophthalmic solution of epidermal growth factor (EGF) for the treatment of traumatic corneal epithelial defects. One hundred four patients completed the study: 47 received EGF and 57 placebo (the drug vehicle). Mean epithelial healing time was significantly enhanced in the EGFtreated group (44.17 h) compared with the placebotreated group (61.05 h) (p<0.01). The number of epithelial defects completely healed at 24, 48, and 72 h after the onset of treatment was significantly greater in the EGFtreated group. Local tolerance was adequate in both groups. These results indicated that topical EGF is well tolerated and may be a significant addition to the ophthalmologist's armamentarium for treating corneal epithelial defects.