PURPOSE: To comparatively investigate the clinical outcomes, vector parameters, and corneal aberrations of small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) with a triple centration technique and corneal wavefront-guided transepithelial photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) for the correction of high astigmatism. METHODS: This retrospective, comparative case series study included 89 eyes (89 patients) that received treatment for myopia with high astigmatism (≥ 2.50 diopters) using SMILE with a triple centration technique (SMILE group; 45 eyes) and corneal wavefront-guided transepithelial PRK (transepithelial PRK group; 44 eyes). Visual acuity measurement, manifest refraction, slit-lamp examination, autokeratometry, corneal topography, and evaluation of corneal wavefront aberration were performed preoperatively and at 1, 3, and 6 months after surgery. The safety, efficacy, vector parameters, and corneal aberrations at 6 months after surgery were compared between the two groups. RESULTS: At 6 months after surgery, the transepithelial PRK and SMILE groups exhibited comparable mean uncorrected distance visual acuities (-0.06 ± 0.07 and -0.05 ± 0.07 logMAR, respectively), safety, efficacy, and predictability of refractive and visual outcomes. There was a slight but statistically significant difference in the correction index between the transepithelial PRK and SMILE groups (0.96 ± 0.11 and 0.91 ± 0.10, respectively). Whereas the transepithelial PRK group exhibited increased corneal spherical aberration and significantly reduced corneal coma and trefoil, no changes in aberrometric values were noted in the SMILE group. CONCLUSIONS: Both SMILE with a triple centration technique and corneal wavefront-guided transepithelial PRK are effective and provide predictable outcomes for the correction of high myopic astigmatism, although slight undercorrection was observed in the SMILE group. The triple centration technique was helpful in astigmatism correction by SMILE.
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