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Journal of Refractive Surgery, 2018;34(6):419–423
Published Online:https://doi.org/10.3928/1081597X-20180402-05Cited by:29

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To investigate the biomechanical properties of the ex vivo human cornea after flap-based versus cap-based laser refractive surgery in the same donor.

METHODS:

In this experimental study, 11 pairs of human corneas unsuitable for transplantation were equally divided into two groups. Corneas from the right eye were treated with femtosecond laser–assisted LASIK (FSLASIK) and corneas from the left eye with small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE). Pachymetry was measured in each eye directly before laser refractive surgery. All corneas were subjected to a refractive correction of −10.00 diopters (D) sphere and −0.75 D cylinder at 0° with a 7-mm zone, using either a 110-μm flap (FS-LASIK) or 130-μm cap (SMILE). For two-dimensional biomechanical measurements, corneoscleral buttons underwent two testing cycles (preconditioning stress-strain curve from 0.03 to 9.0 N and stress-relaxation at 9.0 N during 120 sec) to analyze the elastic and viscoelastic material properties. The effective elastic modulus was calculated. Statistical analysis was performed with a confidence interval of 95%.

RESULTS:

In stress-strain measurements, the effective elastic modulus was 1.47 times higher (P = .003) after SMILE (median = 8.22 [interquartile range = 4.76] MPa) compared to FS-LASIK (median = 5.59 [inter-quartile range = 2.77] MPa). The effect size was large (r = 0.83). No significant differences (P = .658) were observed among stress-relaxation measurements, with a mean remaining stress of 181 ± 31 kPa after SMILE and 177 ± 26 kPa after FS-LASIK after relaxation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Compared to a flap-based procedure such as FS-LASIK, the SMILE technique can be considered superior in terms of biomechanical stability, when measured experimentally in ex vivo human fellow eye corneas.

[J Refract Surg. 2018;34(6):419–423.]

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