Correction of irregular astigmatism with excimer laser assisted by sodium hyaluronate

Ophthalmology. 2001 Jul;108(7):1246-60. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(01)00602-9.


Purpose: To demonstrate the usefulness of excimer laser surgery assisted by sodium hyaluronate for the correction of irregular astigmatism after previous corneal refractive surgery.

Design: Prospective noncomparative case series.

Participants: Fifty eyes with surgically induced irregular astigmatism. All the patients had been subjected previously to one or more of the following: laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), incisional keratotomy, photorefractive keratotomy, phototherapeutic keratotomy, laser thermokeratoplasty, and corneal trauma. Irregular astigmatism developed thereafter.

Methods: Stability of the corneal topography pattern before surgical decision was observed for at least 6 months with the C-SCAN corneal topography with Ray Tracing (Technomed GmbH, Germany) and the Eye-Sys 2000 Corneal Analysis System (Eye Sys Co., Houston, TX). The lowest pachymetry value was 310 microm in the thinnest portion of the cornea. Ablation was performed with the Technolas 217 C-LASIK excimer laser (Bausch and Lomb Chiron Technolas GmbH, Dornach, Germany), in phototherapeutic keratectomy mode, assisted by a mask of 0.25% sodium hyaluronate. We performed our ablation either on the surface or under a flap, whether elevated or newly cut.

Main outcome measures: Uncorrected and best-corrected visual acuity, manifest and cycloplegic refraction, superficial corneal surface quality, image distortion, and predicted corneal visual acuity.

Results: At 3 months of follow-up, the irregular corneal surface was significantly improved in all cases (n = 50). The superficial corneal surface quality improved from 70.5% +/- 9.16% to 75.6% +/- 10.38 (P < 0.0001). Six eyes lost 1 line of best-corrected visual acuity, three eyes lost 2 lines, and five eyes lost 3 or more lines. The real corneal ablation depth obtained was equal to 63% of that programmed because of the influence of masking substance. Mean uncorrected visual acuity improved from 20/80 +/- 20/125 to 20/63 +/- 20/100 (P = 0.01). Predicted corneal visual acuity improved from a mean of 20/32 +/- 20/80 to 20/25 +/- 20/63 (P = 0.004). Image distortion improved from a mean of 13.95 +/- 3.64 to 12.16 +/- 3.92 (P < 0.0001). We obtained a hyperopic shift in 56% and myopic shift in 40% of eyes. After 6 months of follow-up the irregular corneal surface continued to improve in all cases (n = 32). The superficial corneal surface quality improved from 69.38% +/- 9.48% to 73.13% +/- 8.87 (P = 0.002). Two eyes lost 2 lines of best-corrected visual acuity, and 3 eyes lost 1 line. Ray tracing was significantly improved in all cases at the end of follow-up regarding superficial corneal surface quality (P = 0.002) and the image distortion (P = 0.05). Improvement of predicted corneal visual acuity was not significant (P = 0.11). The procedure proved to be safe, with a safety index of 1.1. Differences between the surface and stromal treatments and between pattern and nonpattern irregular astigmatism were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: It is possible to produce a more regular corneal surface and to improve best-corrected visual acuity in patients with irregular astigmatism using plano-scan excimer laser assisted by viscous masking solution of 0.25% sodium hyaluronate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astigmatism / surgery*
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Corneal Topography
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Hyaluronic Acid