Purpose: To compare the effectiveness, safety, and stability of laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), a modified photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) technique, with those of conventional PRK for low to moderate myopia.
Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Yonsei University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Methods: In this prospective study, 27 patients with a manifest refraction of -3.00 to -6.50 diopters were treated and followed for 3 months. In each case, PRK was performed in 1 eye and LASEK in the other eye. The first eye treated and the surgical method used in the first eye were randomized. Postoperative pain, epithelial healing time, uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA), manifest refraction, corneal haze, and surgical preference were examined in PRK- and LASEK-treated eyes.
Results: During the 3 month follow-up, there were no significant between-eye differences in epithelial healing time, UCVA, or refractive error. However, LASEK-treated eyes had lower postoperative pain scores (P =.047) and corneal haze scores (1 month; P =.02) than PRK-treated eyes. Seventeen patients (63%) preferred the LASEK procedure.
Conclusions: Laser epithelial keratomileusis safely and effectively treated eyes with low to moderate myopia. It reduced the incidence of significant postoperative pain and corneal haze and may prevent the flap- and interface-related problems of laser in situ keratomileusis.