Repair of Irregularly Irregular Astigmatism by Transepithelial Phototherapeutic Keratectomy

J Refract Surg. 2017 Oct 1;33(10):714-719. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20170721-04.


Purpose: To evaluate the outcome of transepithelial phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) in the management of irregularly irregular astigmatism.

Methods: This was a case series of two patients who underwent transepithelial PTK for irregularly irregular astigmatism. In the first case, the patient complained of diplopia due to corneal scarring caused by a metallic foreign body injury. The topography demonstrated irregularly irregular astigmatism with significant asymmetry in the inferotemporal to superonasal axis. In the second case, the patient complained of blurred vision and ghosting caused by significant central epithelial ingrowth through a buttonhole LASIK flap, which was causing a localized irregularity on topography. Due to the localized nature of the irregularities, a transepithelial PTK treatment was preferred to custom ablation given the degree of epithelial masking present.

Results: Transepithelial PTK was performed in both cases using the Schwind Amaris 500E excimer laser (Schwind eye-tech-solutions, Kleinostheim, Germany) and an 8-mm optical zone. The ablation depth was planned to reach the depth of the epithelium using a stepwise protocol, reviewing the pattern of the remaining epithelium and regularity of the stromal surface between each ablation. A marked improvement in the regularity of the topography was achieved in both cases, with only regular astigmatism remaining. Both patients reported a subjective improvement in quality of vision and the corrected distance visual acuity improved by one and two lines, respectively.

Conclusions: Transepithelial PTK was effective in treating these cases of localized irregularly irregular astigmatism, achieving both objective and subjective improvement in vision. Compensatory epithelial remodeling over the irregularities enabled the transepithelial PTK approach to target the stromal surface irregularities. [J Refract Surg. 2017;33(10):714-719.].

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astigmatism / diagnosis
  • Astigmatism / physiopathology
  • Astigmatism / surgery*
  • Corneal Topography
  • Epithelium, Corneal / pathology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Keratomileusis, Laser In Situ
  • Lasers, Excimer / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Refraction, Ocular*
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Visual Acuity*