How It Works ?
Epi-LASIK Is A Newer Laser Eye Surgery Procedure That Was Developed To Solve Some Of The Potential Problems With LASIK And LASEK. It's Somewhat Of A Cross Between The Two, But Differs In A Few Key Areas.
During LASIK, Your Surgeon Cuts A Flap In The Cornea With A Sharp Blade Or A Laser. But This Procedure Carries The Risk Of Cutting The Flap Too Thickly, Although Recently Developed Technologies Such As Bladeless LASIK Have Helped Reduce That Risk.
LASEK Involves Cutting The Cornea's Outer Layer, The Epithelium, In A Thin Sheet That Retains Its Hinge On The Eye. This Is Done In Epi-LASIK Too, But The Surgeon Uses A Blunt, Plastic Oscillating Blade Instead Of LASEK's Finer Blade.
Also, Instead Of The Alcohol That's Used In LASEK To Loosen The Epithelial Sheet, In Epi-LASIK The Surgeon Typically Uses The Plastic Blade, Called An Epithelial Separator, To Separate The Sheet From The Eye. This Avoids The Possibility Of A Reaction From The Alcohol, Which Can Kill Epithelial Cells.
Who Can Have Epi-LASIK ?
If You Are Considering LASIK, But Your Doctor Says You Need Epi-LASIK Instead, Ask Why.
It's Not For Everyone, But Many Surgeons Who Perform Epi-LASIK Consider It A Better Option Than LASIK For Some Patients. These Include People Who Have Thin Corneas, With Insufficient Tissue For A Good LASIK Flap.
Epi-LASIK Also May Be Safer Than LASIK For People Who Have Professions Or Hobbies That Increase The Chance Of Being Hit In The Eye (Such As Soldiers, Police Officers, Boxers And Racquet Sports Enthusiasts) Because There's No Risk Of The Flap Being Dislodged.
EPI-Lasik Indications : -
- Thin Corneas
- Flat Corneas
- Small Palpebral Opening, Deep-Set Eyes, Limbal Anomalies, Dry Eye
- Patients With High Risk Of Trauma (Basketball, Football, Hockey Players Etc.)
What Happens Before Epi-LASIK Surgery?
Prior To Having Epi-LASIK Surgery Your Doctor Needs To Establish Suitability. This Is Normally Done During A Thorough Examination Of Your Eyes Where He Will Determine The Best Way To Correct Your Vision.
Corneal Cameras Will Be Used To Take Photographs Of Your Eye And Map The Cornea. These Will Help Identify Any Irregularities Including The Flatness Or Steepness That Must Be Revised In Order To Have Clear Vision.
Procedure Day Expectations
You Will Arrive At The Laser Centre About Half An Hour Prior To Your Procedure. The Area Around Your Eyes Will Be Cleaned And A Sterile Drape Is Applied Around Them. Anaesthetic Eye Drops Will Be Used To Numb Your Eyes; No Injection, Pad Or Stitch Is Used. When Your Eye Is Completely Numb, A Soft Clip Will Gently Keep The Eyelids Open.
During The Procedure You May Feel A Little Pressure, But No Pain. You Will Be Asked To Look Directly At A Target Light During The Laser Procedure.
The Procedure Takes About 10-15 Minutes Of Which The Laser Treatment Itself Will Be Completed In A Few Seconds. An Extended-Wear Soft Contact Lens Shield Is Placed On The Eye, Which Will Be In Place For 3-4 Days.
Your Vision Will Probably Be A Little Blurry At First, So Someone Will Need To Drive You Home. You Should Relax For The Rest Of The Day Since You May Experience Some Discomfort. This Can Be Alleviated With A Simple Pain Reliever. Some People Experience Sensitivity To Light And Watering Or Swelling Of Their Eyes For A Day Or Two Following Their Procedure.
How Is The Epi-LASIK Procedure Performed?
During The Epi-LASIK Procedure, The Flap Of Epithelial Skin Is Cut As Thinly As Possible Using A Blunt Plastic Oscillating Blade.
The Hinge Of The Flap Is Retained On The Eye.
An Epithelial Separator Is Used To Separate The Epithelial Sheet From The Eye In The Epi-LASIK Method.
After The Epithelial Flap Has Been Created It Is Carefully Lifted And Folded Back.
This Give The Surgeon Room To Work On The Surface Of The Cornea That Was Beneath The Flap.
An Excimer Laser Is Used To Reshape The Cornea’s Tissue And Once This Has Been Completed The Epithelial Flap Is Gently Replaced Using A Spatula Like Tool.
To Keep The Epithelium Securely In Place, A Bandage Contact Lens Is Applied.
Three Or Four Days Later (After The Epithelium Has Reattached To The Eye), The Bandage Contact Lens Is Removed
You Will Still Experience Pain With Epi-LASIK Surgery But This Can Be Controlled With Painkillers.
After Epi-LASIKBy About The Third Day After Surgery Re-Epithelialization Has Occurred, So The Doctor May Permit You To Remove The Contact Lenses.
Your Vision Probably Will Not Be Perfect Immediately: In Three Days Many Patients Do Have 20/40 Or Even 20/20 Vision, But Others Take Longer — Possibly Three Or Six Months — To Reach Their Final Result. Usually You Can Drive Within A Week After Surgery.
These Recovery Times Are Significantly Longer Than With LASIK, Which Usually Allows People To Achieve Good Vision From The Same Day Up To A Few Weeks Later And To Drive By The Day After Surgery.
As With Any Laser Eye Surgery, After Epi-LASIK It Is Very Important To Follow Your Surgeon's Instructions Exactly, Because The Quality Of The Final Vision You Achieve Is Affected By How Well Your Corneas Heal. Don't Neglect To Use The Eye Drops Or Other Medications Your Doctor Prescribes, And Don't Miss Any Follow-Up Appointments.
Epi-LASIK ComplicationsAs With All Surgical Procedures, Epi-LASIK Carries With It The Potential For Certain Complications. Although Rare,
The Following Risks Have Been Associated With The Procedure:
- Under- Or Over Correction
- Flap Complications
- Glare, Halos, And Starbursts
Epi-LASIK Complications Occur Only In A Small Number Of Patients And Most Can Be Corrected With A Follow-Up Procedure.
Epi-LASIK BenefitsA Better Option For Those With Dry Eye Problems. A Better Option Than LASIK For Those With Thin Corneas. Many Patients Who Have Thin Corneas Are Now Candidates For Laser Vision Correction.
Epi-LASIK Provides A More Predictable Outcome After Wavefront-Guided Laser Treatments According To Studies. Epi LASIK Is An Option For Those Who Do Not Want Any Marks On The Cornea.
As A Means Of Laser Eye Surgery, Epi-LASIK Offers Many Advantages.
The Following Benefits Have Been Reported In Association With The Procedure : -
- Able To Treat Patients With Thinner Corneas
- Reduced Incidence Of Flap Complications
- Lower Rate Of Dry Eye Syndrome
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