LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis: a surgical procedure that uses laser to reshape and treat the cornea without fully removing the corneal flap. All LASIK surgeries are performed with a specific type of laser – the excimer laser – but there are different ways to perform laser ablation, thus the variety of LASIK procedures.
The three main LASIK surgeries performed in Singapore are Conventional LASIK, Epi-LASIK, and IntraLase LASIK.
Cost of LASIK Surgery in Singapore
Cost of LASIK, Epi-LASIK procedures in Singapore ranges from $3,500 – $6,000 for both eyes.
Epi-LASIK (preferred as the safest for long term eye care)
A more advanced type of procedure is Epi-LASIK, which is something like a combination of LASIK and LASEK and aims to address the problems of the two preceding procedures. The Epi-LASIK procedure is similar to that of LASEK, but uses a blunt, plastic oscillating blade, called the epithelial separator, to separate the sheet from the eye. This greatly minimizes the risk of irritation and other side-effects.
Watch the video below for a clearer illustration of Epi-LASIK, by Clearvision Eye Clinic & LASIK Centre
Once the epithelium is removed, the excimer laser is used to sculpt the underlying corneal tissue. After this, a special contact lens is placed to protect the eye surface and allow the epithelium to grow back. This means that it takes a slightly longer time to heal and recover from an Epi-LASIK surgery. The advantage of this, though, is that the eye is returned to a stable state and will not become sensitive to impact. For this reason, Epi-LASIK is highly suitable for businessmen and individuals who maintain an active lifestyles, such as sportsmen and soldiers in which the Conventional LASIK, Intraslase LASIK, and other similar procedures that requires flap cutting may not be suitable.
The conventional LASIK surgery is performed in three steps: creation of a flap in the cornea, remodeling of the corneal stroma through the excimer laser, and repositioning of the flap. The ablation pattern in a conventional LASIK procedure is directly based on the patient’s glass prescriptions, with fixed treatment parameters for each patient. Conventional LASIK is effective for the majority of patients, but it has been noted to cause some types of visual aberrations in some patients. Because the corneal flap serves as a natural bandage to the ablation, the eye heals faster and recovery time is considerably short.
LASEK stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis, an upgrade of the now-outmoded PRK laser eye surgery, which was formerly the preferred procedure for patients whose corneas don’t have the ideal thickness. In this procedure, alcohol is used to detach underlying tissues from the top layer of cells, called the epithelium, which is then lifted so the eye surgeon can access the cornea stroma. Excimer laser is again used to repair the eye. The layer of epithelium is then placed back. LASEK’s advantage is that it has a lower chance of developing complications that may result when a flap is created on corneas that are too thin.
Custom Wavefront LASIK
In a Custom Wavefront LASIK, also called the wavefront-guided LASIK in Singapore, the eye is analyzed to see how it processes visual information and uses the resulting measurements to guide the excimer laser in sculpting the cornea. This procedure exceeds the effectiveness of conventional LASIK because the precise measurements of the wavefront system allows for more exact vision correction via laser. However, fewer people are good candidates for custom wavefront LASIK as it requires a specific thickness of the cornea and certain degrees of vision defects.
Also called IntraLase LASIK or “bladeless” LASIK, IntraLasik conducts the whole eye surgery using lasers. This makes the procedure much more precise as Intralase laser – the surgical blade substitute – have more exact measurements and actions, thus eliminating the risk of cutting the corneal flap too thickly. Some patients, however, have reported light sensitivity from IntraLASIK and this kind of procedure is still quite more expensive than the other types of treatment.
PresbyLASIK or Multifocal LASIK
This is an advanced type of vision correction surgery that uses laser to change the cornea to create different focal zones for seeing at varying distances. Although it promises very good results, PresbyLASIK is still being tested and is yet limited to certain people only. If successful, PresbyLASIK may be able to treat presbyopia, which afflicts all people starting around middle age.
Technically, corneal onlays and inlays are not LASIK treatments, but are devices eye surgeons use to avoid complications associated with LASIK procedures. Corneal inlays and onlays are similar to contact lenses, but made of biocompatible materials resembling the clear surface of the eye itself, and which alters the way light rays enter the eye.