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What is Epi-LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

Jan 20, 2008
If you're looking for the most advanced type of eye procedure then check out Epi-LASIK. It takes the best of LASIK surgery and combines it with LASEK and PRK. Basically the procedure involves separating the epithelial from the cornea. Instead of slicing the top of the cornea (which is what happens with LASIK), an epikeratome is used to create the hinge.

Typically people who opt for this type of eye corrective surgery have a very thin cornea and have either moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Like the other types of laser eye surgery, vision is corrected with the use of laser beams that re-shape the cornea.

What are the Benefits of Epi-LASIK?

The main benefits of Epi-LASIK is the time taken to recover and the speed in which vision is restored. Since the cornea isn't cut with a sharp blade known as a microkeratome, the cornea doesn't need to heal. Also because only a thin layer of the epithelial is separated it can heal very quickly. Risk of incorrectly cutting the cornea also is not a problem. So the potential of losing your vision does not exist. The pain is less too.

Although Epi-LASIK is relatively risk-free there is still the potential of problems occurring. However if you find a good surgeon who conducts a thorough diagnostic test, these risks should be very minimal indeed.

Like other laser eye surgery procedures, the Epi-LASIK operation will only take 10 minutes or less to complete. In order to reduce any pain experienced, anesthetic drops are placed into your eye. Then the epithelial is moved so the laser can do its job.

Whilst the operation is being conducted, your eye needs to be stabilized with special equipment. The epithelium separator then passes across the eye to flatten the cornea making it easier to separate the epithelial. It does not stay completely; instead it keeps attached in the middle as apposed to the side which is what happens with LASIK.

To remove unwanted tissue from the cornea, a laser emits pulses of UV light. The procedure continues until the correct amount of tissue is removed. Afterwards, antibiotic drops are placed in the eye to prevent infection and a bandage similar to a contact lens is put in place. Those choosing the Epi-LASIK procedure can usually continue normal life the day after the procedure. You will then require several follow-up visits to keep a check on the healing progress and your vision.

Be very careful when choosing your Epi-LASIK eye surgeon. Find out as much as you can about their experience with this particular type of procedure along with success rates. You will also want to know what level of care you will receive before, during and after the operation. Plus of course all the associated costs.
About the Author
April has written a number of articles relating to eye health including: LASEK laser surgery and LASIK laser surgery.
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