Purpose: To evaluate visual outcomes and astigmatism in patients who underwent penetrating keratoplasty (PK) with 2 different incision techniques. Design: Retrospective comparison of a consecutive surgical series. Participants: Fifty-seven consecutive patients who underwent PK at the University of California, Irvine, academic referral practice. Methods: A comparison of 49 eyes of 43 patients that underwent femtosecond laser zig-zag incision pattern PK versus 17 eyes of 14 patients that underwent conventional Barron suction trephination PK performed contemporaneously. All PKs were closed with an identical, 24-bite running nylon suture technique. Main Outcome Measures: Topographically determined astigmatism, best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), and recovery of full visual potential. Results: The postoperative follow-up ranged from 1 to 12 months. There was a significant difference in average astigmatism between the groups at postoperative month 1 (P = 0.013) and 3 (P = 0.018). By month 3, the average astigmatism was 3 diopters (D) in the zig-zag group and 4.46 D in the conventional group. Of the patients with normal macular and optic nerve function (nZZ = 32; ncon = 14), a significant difference in BSCVA was seen at month 1 (P = 0.0003) and month 3 (P = 0.006) with 81% of the zig-zag group versus 45% of the conventional group achieving BSCVA of ≥20/40 by month 3 (P = 0.03). Conclusions: The femtosecond laser generated zig-zag-shaped incision results in a more rapid recovery of BSCVA and induces less astigmatism compared with conventional blade trephination PK. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary commercial disclosure may be found after the references.
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