Corneal clarity and function depend on an intact and healthy corneal endothelium, and surgical procedures of the cornea should not adversely affect this nonregenerative cell layer,” the study authors said.
The prospective, randomized study included 21 patients with a mean age of 38 years and myopia or myopic astigmatism. Patients underwent LASIK with mechanical microkeratome flap creation in one eye and femtosecond laser flap creation in the fellow eye.
The corneal endothelium was evaluated preoperatively and 3 and 5 years postoperatively.
Study results showed similar endothelial cell densities at 5 years in the groups that underwent microkeratome flap creation and femtosecond laser flap creation.
Mean endothelial cell loss was 0.8% in the femtosecond flap group and 0.4% in the mechanical microkeratome group at 5 years; the between-group difference was statistically insignificant.
Data showed no linear relationship between endothelial cell loss and contact lens wear, residual bed thickness or preoperative refractive error, the authors said.