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Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness after laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis and femtosecond LASIK: a prospective observational cohort study

Authors Katsanos A, Arranz-Marquez E, Cañones R, Lauzirika G, Rodríguez-Perez I, Teus MA

Received 13 March 2018

Accepted for publication 23 April 2018

Published 4 July 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1213—1218


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Andreas Katsanos,1–3 Esther Arranz-Marquez,1,4 Rafael Cañones,2 Gorka Lauzirika,1 Isabel Rodríguez-Perez,1 Miguel A Teus1,2

1Clínica Novovisión, Madrid, Spain; 2Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alcala, Alcala de Henares, Spain; 3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece; 4Ophthalmology Clinic, Rey Juan Carlos Universitary Hospital, Móstoles, Madrid, Spain

Purpose: Based on the assumption that high levels of intraocular pressure (IOP) during femtosecond laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (FS-LASIK) may compromise the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), newer femtosecond platforms that operate without causing significant IOP elevation have been developed in recent years. However, this assumption has not been adequately tested. The aim of the current study was to evaluate possible changes in RFNL thickness in nonglaucomatous myopic patients undergoing FS-LASIK using the 60 KHz IntraLase® device that significantly elevates the IOP for an appreciable period of time vs an advanced surface ablation technique (laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis, LASEK) that does not induce any IOP elevation.
Methods: This was a prospective, observational, controlled cohort study. One randomly selected eye of 114 consecutive eligible patients was analyzed. Inclusion criteria were myopia up to -6.00 diopters and astigmatism up to -2.00 diopters. As clinically indicated, 50 patients underwent LASEK and 64 underwent FS-LASIK. The RNFL thickness was determined with a spectral-domain optical coherence tomography device preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively by the same masked observer.
Results: There was no significant difference in preoperative refractive error, age, or sex between the groups. Preoperatively, central corneal thickness was significantly lower in the LASEK group (529.1±36.1 vs 562.4±31.6 µm, P=0.001). For the LASEK group, there was no significant difference between preoperative and postoperative RNFL thickness in the studied sectors (superior-temporal, temporal, inferior-temporal, average). For the FS-LASIK group, compared to preoperative RNFL measures, statistically significant thicker postoperative values were found for the average RNFL (mean difference: 0.67 µm, 0.7% increase, P=0.008) and the inferior-temporal sector (mean difference: 0.92 µm, 0.6% increase, P=0.02).
Conclusion: LASIK with a femtosecond platform that induces high intraoperative IOP did not cause RNFL thinning. The observed differences between preoperative and postoperative values are below the axial resolution limit of optical coherence tomography devices.

Keywords: femtosecond laser, glaucoma, surface ablation, LASEK, photorefractive keratectomy, RNFL

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