To compare the outcomes of enhancement after small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) using surface ablation versus the VisuMax CIRCLE option (Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Jena, Germany), which converts the SMILE cap into a femtosecond laser–assisted laser in situ keratomileusis flap.
The databases of the SMILE Eyes centers in Munich, Marburg, and Cologne, Germany, and Linz, Austria, were screened for eyes that had undergone enhancement using surface ablation with mitomycin C or CIRCLE. Eyes from both enhancement methods suitable for a retrospective matched analysis were identified based on pre-SMILE and pre-enhancement mean refractive spherical equivalent (MRSE), astigmatism, age, and corrected and uncorrected distance visual acuity (CDVA/UDVA). Refractive and functional outcomes were compared after a follow-up of 3 months.
After the application of the matching criteria on 2,803 SMILE procedures, 24 eyes (12 in each group) with a follow-up of 3 months or longer were available for analysis. Enhancement was performed after a mean 9.7 ± 7.2 (surface ablation) and 11.0 ± 4.4 (CIRCLE) months for a residual MRSE of −0.91 ± 0.55 (surface ablation) and −0.90 ± 0.61 (CIRCLE) diopters. At 3 months, residual MRSE showed comparable accuracy with −0.07 ± 0.19 (surface ablation) and 0.04 ± 0.22 (CIRCLE) diopters (P = .18). UDVA improvement was similar to a final value of 0.02 ± 0.10 (surface ablation) versus 0.03 ± 0.07 (CIRCLE) logMAR (P = .78). Only one eye in the surface ablation group and no eye in the CIRCLE group lost one line of CDVA. At 3 months, the safety (surface ablation: 1.00, CIRCLE: 1.06; P = .36) and efficacy (surface ablation: 0.95, CIRCLE: 1.03; P = .36) indices were equivalent. In terms of speed of visual recovery, at week 1 UDVA and CDVA were significantly better after CIRCLE than surface ablation (P = .008 and .002, respectively).
In this first study directly comparing surface ablation versus CIRCLE enhancement after SMILE, both methods yielded comparable results at 3 months. However, CIRCLE re-treated eyes showed a markedly increased speed of recovery concerning UDVA and CDVA compared to surface ablation.
[J Refract Surg. 2019;35(5):294–300.]
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