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Refractive Laser Surgery Seems OK Even on Thin Corneas

Study found no ectasia following LASIK or PRK in patients with corneal thickness below usual cutoff

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although most surgeons regard a central corneal thickness of at least 500 microns as the cutoff for safe refractive surgery, LASIK and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) appear to be safe procedures in myopic patients with thinner corneas, researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

George D. Kymionis, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Crete in Greece, and colleagues followed 63 patients who underwent LASIK or PRK for an average 16 months. The mean preoperative corneal pachymetry was 484.95 microns in LASIK patients, and 482.38 microns in PRK patients.

None of the patients developed postrefractive corneal ectasia, which is a serious complication associated with thin corneas, nor were other intraoperative or postoperative complications found. In addition, the mean predictability of the procedures in terms of achieving correction was 0.14 diopters in the LASIK group and 0.08 diopters in the PRK group.

The study had some limitations, including small sample size and lack of controls with normal corneal thickness. However, the researchers conclude that they "have shown that refractive surgery in thin corneas has good predictability and safety up to one-year of follow-up without progressive time-dependent sight-threatening complications."

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