The hypothesis that small-incision lenticule extraction provides better preservation of corneal biomechanics than previous laser refractive techniques has led to a growth in the interest in clinical and experimental research in this field. This hypothesis is based on the fact that corneal layers with greater stiffness are preserved with this new technique. However, this hypothesis is controversial because clinical research has shown a great disparity in the outcomes. In this review, we performed an in-depth analysis of the factors that might affect corneal biomechanics in laser refractive surgery procedures from a macrostructural to a microstructural viewpoint. New advances in algorithms with current devices or the introduction of new devices might help unmask the possible advantages of small-incision lenticule extraction in corneal biomechanics.
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