Understanding Epi LASIK Laser Eye Surgery
Epi Lasik laser eye surgery is the most advanced surgical eye procedure using laser technology, it combines the Best Laser Eye Surgery with the best of the Lasek and PRK laser procedures.
Epi stands for Epithelial and Lasik stands for Laser in situ Keratomileusis.
Basically this newest procedure involves gently separating the epithelial from the top of the Cornea using an epikeratome rather than slicing the top of the cornea and creating a hinge as is the case with LASIK.
A good candidate for Epi LASIK Laser Eye Surgery is someone who has a very thin cornea and who also has mild to moderate Myopia also known as “nearsightedness” or “short sightedness”, Hyperopia also known as "farsightedness" or "long sightedness" , nearsightedness or Astigmatism.
As with the other types of laser eye surgery, best vision is achieved by using laser beams to reshape the cornea.
Benefits of Epi-LASIK laser eye surgery
The two main benefits of the Epi-LASIK procedure are its quicker recovery time and the speed at which vision is restored.
Because the cornea is not cut with a microkeratome (a sharp blade) the cornea does not have to heal.
And because only a thin layer of the epithelial is separated, it too has the ability to heal quickly.
This type of procedure eliminates the potential risks associated with incorrectly cutting the cornea, which in some cases can cause a number of Vision Problems including a permanent Loss of Vision . There also is less pain.
Risks of Epi-LASIK
While no surgical procedure is without risk, proper candidate screening including thorough diagnostic testing will significantly reduce the risks associated with Epi-LASIK surgery.
The Epi-LASIK procedure
As with the other laser eye procedures, the Epi-LASIK procedure also takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
Anesthetic drops are placed into the eye to minimize pain and discomfort. From there, the epithelial must be moved off to the side so that the laser can reach the intended target area.
Specialized equipment is used to first stabilize the eye. Then, the epithelium separator makes a pass across the eye and flattens the cornea which makes it easier to separate the epithelial.
It is not separated completely, rather it remains attached in the middle instead of at one side as happens with the LASIK procedure.
A small spatula-type tool is used to move the flap out of the way.
The laser then begins emitting pulses of ultraviolet light, quickly removing the excess tissue from the cornea. As the laser pulses, the cornea is being reshaped.
This continues until the proper amount of excess tissue is removed, as determined by the eye surgeon.
When finished, antibiotic drops are placed in the eye to protect against infection, and a contact lens-like bandage is applied.
Those opting for the Epi LASIK procedure can usually resume normal activity the day after the procedure.
Several follow-up visits are required to monitor healing and vision.
It's important to choose an Epi-LASIK eye surgeon with care.
Discuss the surgeon's experience with this type of procedure including success rates.
Also discuss the type of care that will be provided during all stages: before, during and after the procedure and associated costs.
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