Stability of the laser in situ keratomileusis corneal flap in rabbit eyes

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To quantify the force required to dislodge a laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) corneal flap in rabbits and correlate that force with sources of injury to LASIK corneal flaps in humans. Setting: Animal Vivarium and Department of Ophthalmology, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California, USA. Methods: Corneal flaps were cut in 56 eyes of 30 rabbits. A -8.00 diopter excimer ablation was also performed in 32 of the eyes. Injury testing, using a burst of CO2 from a modified paintball gun, was conducted from 1 to 9 days postoperatively. Impact force was compared to that generated by mechanical trauma (fingers and a small tree branch) striking a force gauge. Results: Of 43 eyes tested for injury, flaps could not be dislocated in 11 eyes (26%). There was no significant difference between eyes treated with flap only and those that also had ablation. When flaps were dislodged, the required force generally resulted in extensive intraocular injury. There was no significant difference between the force required for flap dislocation on postoperative days 1 and 9. Conclusions: In rabbits, LASIK corneal flaps were very resistant to high-speed wind trauma as early as 24 hours postoperatively. Flap stability was robust prior to the formation of collagen scar tissue, probably due to epithelial bridging at the edge of the flap and an osmotic gradient across the flap-stromal bed interface. Although this study used a rabbit model, it seems likely that both these flap adhesion mechanisms would also provide stability to the LASIK flap in humans. © 2006 ASCRS and ESCRS.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Laurent JM; Schallhorn SC; Spigelmire JR; Tanzer DJ
  • Start Page

  • 1046
  • End Page

  • 1051
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 6