Purpose: To compare changes in anterior corneal wavefront aberrations after myopic laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) and laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). Setting: Institute of Ophthalmology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy. Methods: This prospective study included 36 eyes of 25 myopic patients: 18 eyes of 12 patients had LASEK and 18 eyes of 13 patients, LASIK. The topography data (CSO EyeMap, version 6.2) were used to calculate corneal aberrations with 3.0 mm and 7.0 mm pupils before and 3 months after surgery. Results: Total corneal aberrations increased similarly after LASEK and LASIK with the 7.0 mm pupil but did not change with the 3.0 mm pupil. Coma-like and spherical-like aberrations changed similarly after both procedures, but spherical-like aberrations increased after LASEK with the 3.0 mm pupil (P.05, independent t test), in individual eyes with an achieved correction less than 7.50 diopters (D), spherical-like aberrations increased more after LASEK than after LASIK. Conclusions: In this preliminary study, myopic LASEK and LASIK changed total and higher-order corneal aberrations. In both procedures, changes in spherical-like aberrations were dependent on the achieved correction. However, in individual eyes, spherical-like aberrations increased more after LASEK than after LASIK for low-moderate achieved correction, suggesting that these procedures may induce the same optical changes in the anterior corneal surface in different ways.
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