Wavefront ablation profiles in refractive surgery: Description, results, and limitations

David Smadja, Glauco Reggiani-Mello, Marcony R. Santhiago, Ronald R. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To provide an overview of the clinical results of different ablation profiles based on wavefront technology and discuss their characteristics and limitations. METHODS: Literature review of studies reporting results of ablation profiles based on wavefront technology in virgin healthy eyes. RESULTS: Over the past 10 years, a large number of studies comparing different treatment algorithms and newer excimer laser platforms have been published. Thirty-six clinical studies including 3637 eyes analyzing the clinical results obtained after wavefront-guided, wavefront-optimized, and Q-factor profiles have been reviewed. Although wavefront-driven profiles allowed reduction of the amount of induced optical aberrations with conventional ablations, thereby improving the quality of vision, it appears that no algorithm of treatment or excimer laser platform has demonstrated a clear superiority over another. Wound healing and unexpected biomechanical response to surgery affect the accuracy of customized treatments and produce variable results. In addition, it is difficult to rigorously analyze and compare findings among different studies because of the diverse variety in which the data are reported. CONCLUSIONS: Despite several technological improvements over the years, wavefront ablation profiles have not consistently demonstrated superiority in terms of visual acuity and lower order aberrations compared to the standard procedure, although the induction of higher order aberrations has been reduced. The concept of an individualized eye model has emerged recently, based on the optical ray tracing algorithm, and could theoretically provide a higher level of customization, thus fulfilling the promise of "super vision."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Refractive Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology

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