JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Visual outcomes after Epi-LASIK and PRK for low and moderate myopia.

PURPOSE: To evaluate visual outcomes following epi-LASIK compared to photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

METHODS: Of a total 294 patients aged ≥21 years, 145 (290 eyes) underwent epi-LASIK and 149 (298 eyes) underwent PRK for low to moderate myopia or myopic astigmatism. Epi-LASIK was performed with the Amadeus II epikeratome (Abbott Medical Optics) and PRK with the Amoils rotary epithelial brush (Innovative Excimer Solutions). All ablations were performed using the same excimer laser system. Outcome measures included intraoperative complications, corneal reepithelialization, postoperative pain, uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA), manifest refraction spherical equivalent (MRSE), corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA), corneal haze, and quality of vision.

RESULTS: Mean preoperative MRSE was -2.97±1.19 diopters (D) for epi-LASIK versus -2.95±1.06 D for PRK. Complete reepithelialization was achieved by postoperative day 4 in 46.9% of epi-LASIK eyes versus 92.4% of PRK eyes, with superior UDVA at postoperative day 1 in the PRK group (P=.002). Using Fisher exact test, a significantly higher percentage of epi-LASIK eyes compared to PRK eyes achieved 20/15 or better at 1 month (25.8% vs 17.8%, P=.031), 3 months (62.3% vs 49.3%, P=.004), 6 months (77.1% vs 57.9%, P<.001), and 12 months (75.9% vs 61.9%, P=.002). A change in MRSE >0.50 D occurred in 8.4% of epi-LASIK eyes within the 3- and 12-month interval versus 17.7% of PRK eyes (P=.04). No differences were noted between the two procedures in CDVA or clinically significant haze.

CONCLUSIONS: Epi-LASIK showed superior refractive efficacy and stability but required more time for wound healing, resulting in inferior early visual outcomes and a tendency to overcorrect higher refractive errors compared to PRK. Both treatments were safe and comparable in terms of pain and haze formation.

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