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Hassan Hashemi, Cynthia J. Roberts, Ahmed Elsheikh, Shiva Mehravaran, Parsa Panahi, Soheila Asgari; Corneal Biomechanics After SMILE, Femtosecond-Assisted LASIK, and Photorefractive Keratectomy: A Matched Comparison Study. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2023;12(3):12. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.3.12.
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To evaluate the change in corneal stiffness after small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE), femtosecond laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (FS-LASIK), and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Age, gender, spherical equivalent, and central corneal thickness (CCT)–matched cases undergoing SMILE with a 120-µ cap, FS-LASIK with a 110-µ flap, and PRK were enrolled. One-year change in the stress–strain index, stiffness parameter at first applanation, integrated inverse radius, deformation amplitude ratio at 2 mm, and deformation amplitude ratio at 1 mm were compared between the surgical groups by linear mixed-effect models.
Within each surgical group, 120 eyes completed 1 year of follow-up. The residual stromal bed (RSB) thickness and (RSB/CCTpostop) were 348.1 ± 35.0 (0.74), 375.4 ± 31.0 (0.77) and 426.7 ± 2 µm (0.88) after SMILE, FS-LASIK, and PRK, respectively. The 1-year change in all biomechanical indices was significant, except the stress–strain index with PRK (P = 0.884). The change in all indices with SMILE were significantly greater than with FS-LASIK and with PRK (all P < 0.01), except the deformation amplitude ratio at 1 mm change between SMILE and FS-LASIK (P = 0.075). The changes in all indices with FS-LASIK were significantly greater than with PRK (all P < 0.05).
Although SMILE preserves the greatest amount of anterior cornea with a cap thickness of 120 µ, this also produces the smallest RSB and the greatest decrease in stiffness. Thus, the RSB is shown to be the predominant determinant of stiffness decreases, rather than the preserved anterior cornea. We recommend using a thinner cap to achieve a thicker RSB and a lesser decrease in the corneal stiffness in the SMILE procedure.
After refractive surgery, RSB is predominant determinant of stiffness decreases, rather than the preserved anterior cornea.
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