Although numerous studies have examined corneal epithelial wound healing, few reports describe conjunctival wound healing. Thus, we evaluated the conjunctival epithelium by brush cytology, in which a miniature brush was used to collect many cells relatively noninvasively. The temporal and superior conjunctivae were examined before and after cataract extraction on the first, third, seventh, and fourteenth days and then the first, second, and third months postoperatively, in a group of 20 patients (9 men and 11 women with a mean age of 69 years 3 months ± 10 years). The cells collected were stained by the Papanicolau method. Each postoperative specimen contained keratinized, polygonal, round, columnar, elongated, and inflammatory cells, as well as cells with nuclear alterations. No keratinized, elongated, or inflammatory cells were observed preoperatively. In contrast, columnar cells, which were present preoperatively, decreased during the wound healing process. Such nuclear changes as chromatin formation or the appearance of snake-like figures were observed in several patients postoperatively. These cellular changes may represent altered differentiation during the healing process. However, the conjunctival epithelium returned to normal within 2 months postoperatively in all patients.
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