To compare the early postoperative visual rehabilitation after laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) for the correction of myopia.
CODET Vision Institute, Tijuana, Mexico.
This prospective study included 50 eyes of 25 patients with myopia who received LASEK in 1 eye and PRK in the contralateral eye. Excimer laser corneal ablation was done using the Nidek EC-5000 excimer laser. Patients were seen at 1 and 3 days, 1 week, and 1 month. Discomfort, subjective uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA), objective UCVA, best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), corneal clarity (haze), and time for corneal reepithelialization were analyzed.
Seventy-two percent and 80% of the LASEK eyes had more discomfort at 1 day and 3 days, respectively. Eighty percent and 96% of the PRK eyes had better subjective UCVA at 1 day and 3 days, respectively. Corneas were fully reepithelialized at a mean of 3.3 days +/- 0.5 (SD) and 3.6 +/- 0.5 days in the PRK and LASEK groups, respectively. At 1 month, the UCVA was similar in both groups; no eye had lost lines of BCVA or developed haze.
Both LASEK and PRK were effective and safe procedures in the surgical correction of myopia at the 1-month postoperative visit. Patients reported less discomfort and better visual acuity in their PRK eye during the early postoperative period. Patients should be informed that LASEK, whose acronym is similar to that of laser in situ keratomileusis, has a recovery speed that is similar to that of surface laser refractive procedures such as PRK.