Purpose To compare postoperative outcomes for femtosecond laser-assisted keratoplasty (FLAK) with conventional penetrating keratoplasty (PK). Design Retrospective, comparative surgical series. Participants Fifty consecutive patients who underwent FLAK and 50 case-controlled patients that had PK at the Casey Eye Institute (Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR). Methods Data was collected for 50 consecutive cases that underwent zigzag incision FLAK and was compared with 50 subjects that had conventional blade trephine incision PK with similar age, diagnosis and concurrent ocular morbidities over a 2-year follow-up period. Main Outcome Measures Topographic astigmatism, best spectacle-corrected visual acuity, uncorrected visual acuity, pinhole visual acuity, and the timing of selective suture removal (or adjustment) over various follow-up intervals up to 2 years postoperatively. Results Significantly lower topographic astigmatism was achieved in the FLAK group over the PK group in the 4- to 6-month follow-up period (P = 0.0324), which correlated well with significant earlier selective suture removal that occurred in that same group over both the 2- to 3-month (P = 0.0025) and 4- to 6-month (P = 0.0236) follow-up periods. This difference in astigmatism was no longer present at any other follow-up period up to 24 months postoperatively. The subset analysis of patients with keratoconus or post-LASIK ectasia did not show any difference in either astigmatism or visual acuity at any time. Conclusions Compared with PKP, FLAK had significant improvement in astigmatism before but not after the 6 month postoperative follow-up period. Earlier suture removal was noted in the FLAK group. No significant improvement in best spectacle-corrected visual acuity was noted at any time point. There were no complications or difficulties with trephination in the FLAK procedure across a wide range of corneal pathologies. Financial Disclosure(s) The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any of the materials discussed in this article.
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