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Anders Ivarsen, Walther Fledelius, Jesper Ø. Hjortdal; Three-Year Changes in Epithelial and Stromal Thickness after PRK or LASIK for High Myopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(5):2061-2066. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2853.
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purpose. To compare 3-year changes in corneal sublayer thickness after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).
methods. Forty-six patients with spheroequivalent refraction of −6.0 to −8.0 diopters (D) were randomly assigned to PRK or LASIK. One eye from each patient was included in the study. Examinations included manifest refraction and confocal microscopy through focusing (CMTF) and were performed preoperatively and postoperatively at 1 week and at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 36 months. From CMTF scans, the thicknesses of the central cornea (CT), epithelium (ET), stroma (ST), LASIK flap (FT), and residual stromal bed (BT) were calculated.
results. After LASIK, spheroequivalent refraction averaged −0.76 D by 1 week and −1.19 D by 1 month, with no subsequent significant change. ET increased 9.0 ± 7.0 μm within 1 week and remained constant thereafter. ST increased 12.9 ± 9.4 μm within 1 year because of increased BT. One week after PRK, refraction averaged −0.23 D and stabilized at −1.42 D by 6 months. By 1 week, ET was reduced by 7.5 ± 5.7 μm, reached preoperative thickness by 6 months, and increased further 7.3 ± 6.0 μm by 3 years. ST increased 25.3 ± 17.2 μm during 1 year, correlating with the postoperative refractive regression. After both procedures, changes in CT also correlated with refractive changes. No other correlations were identified.
conclusions. PRK and LASIK induce a persistent increase in ET that stabilizes 1 week after LASIK and 1 year after PRK. Stromal regrowth is most pronounced after PRK. After LASIK, regrowth is restricted to the residual stromal bed. Postoperative refractive changes correlate with changes in ST (PRK) and CT (PRK and LASIK) but not with changes in ET.
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