Epi-Bowman keratectomy versus alcohol-assisted photorefractive keratectomy: wound healing and complications

Ther Adv Ophthalmol. 2021 Jan 22:13:2515841420988215. doi: 10.1177/2515841420988215. eCollection 2021 Jan-Dec.


Purpose: In Epi-Bowman Keratectomy™ (EBK), a new dynamic multi-blade single-use device (Epi-Clear™, Orca Surgical, Israel) is utilized to remove the epithelium by sweeping movements across the corneal surface. Epithelial cells are discarded. Alcohol or other chemical agents are not utilized. We wanted to compare clinical results of Epi-Clear photorefractive kertectomy (PRK) to alcohol-assisted PRK.

Study design: Retrospective, comparative study.

Methods: Consecutive case series: Adult patients seeking laser vision correction of myopia or myopic astigmatism without ocular diseases or prior surgery were included. The Epi-Clear PRK group comprised 50 consecutive eyes of 27 patients and the PRK group 50 eyes of 25 patients.

Results: No intraoperative complications occurred. Epi-Clear PRK: At day 1, day 4, and 3 months, uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) was 0.41/0.47/0.93 (decimal scale); epithelial defect diameter was 4.7/0.2/0 (mm); pain level was 3.8/0.3/0 (visual analogue scale, 0-10), respectively. At 3 months, efficacy index was 0.86 and spherical aberrations were unchanged. Three eyes (6%) showed (presumably sterile) infiltrates. PRK: At day 1, day 4, and 3 months, UDVA was 0.56/0.46/1.15; epithelial defect diameter was 6.3/0.2/0 (mm); pain level was 5.0/0.3/0, respectively. At 3 months, efficacy index was 1.1 and spherical aberrations were unchanged.

Conclusion: The new method of epithelial debridement with Epi-Clear before laser ablation seems to offer fast epithelial removal without nicking Bowman's layer (as observed with the laser microscope). However, we found significantly inferior results of Epi-Clear PRK compared to alcohol-assisted PRK. Furthermore, after Epi-Clear PRK corneal infiltrates as a new type of postoperative complication were observed.

Keywords: Epi-Bowman Keratectomy; Epi-Clear; surface ablation.