Epi-LASIK

Epi-LASIK is a type of laser eye surgery procedure that is safe and good for long term eye care. A more advanced method, Epi-LASIK was developed to solve some of the potential problems with earlier types of vision correction surgery such as PRK, LASIK and LASEK. Below is an animated video that clearly illustrates how Epi-LASIK is carried out.


Benefits

Like all other laser vision correction methods, the goal of Epi-LASIK is to reduce or eliminate dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses. The procedure effectively treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, allowing individuals to carry out daily activities without the aid of external devices. It could not, however, alter the natural aging process of the eye.

Candidates

Epi-LASIK is suitable for most people, but it is more necessary for certain people, such as those with high myopia, thin cornea, or dry eyes, as these conditions increase their chance of having complications in other types of laser vision correction surgery. It is also highly recommended for individuals who maintain an active lifestyles, such as military personnel and athletes.

Procedure

Epi-LASIK uses a microkeratome with an oscillating blunt blade to cleave and lift the epithelium (the thin tissue covering the cornea) in a single sheet. Unlike LASEK, which generally follows the same technique, Epi-LASIK does not use alcohol to separate the epithelial sheet, thus reducing the chance of irritation.

With the epithelium lifted, an excimer laser then sculpts the underlying cornea. A special contact lens is then placed over the eye to help the epithelium repair itself. The contact lens protects the surface of the eye while the epithelial cells grow back and the eye returns to its normal state, but with a corrected vision.

Advantages

1. The main advantage of Epi-LASIK is that it combines the best of the other types of laser eye surgeries. Primarily, it avoids the danger of making a corneal flap which cuts away good corneal tissues as well, which is required in conventional LASIK and IntraLase LASIK treatments. This means that Epi-LASIK preserves the structural integrity of the cornea without removing good cornea tissues, and thus removes the chance of cornea ectasia, an irreversible thinning of the cornea that will damage vision.

2. A side-effect of conventional LASIK and IntraLase LASIK resulting in an error in the corneal flap may also lead to flap wrinkles or dislodgement, diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) and epithelial cells in-growth. Patients who have thin corneas are therefore highly advised to take Epi-LASIK over LASIK. Epi-LASIK is also more suitable for individuals with high myopia as the procedure makes the correction closer to the surface, reducing possible damage. In addition, Epi-LASIK is less likely to cause or worsen dry eyes, which occurs when nerve endings in the eye responsible for lubrication are cut off.

3. Another advantage of Epi-LASIK is that it is a better long-term treatment. Unlike other LASIK procedures, Epi-LASIK does not limit patients from taking other, more advanced treatments for certain conditions, such as presbyopia. Because Epi-LASIK does not create any flap, there is no permanent damage done to any eye tissue and the eye heals and returns to a natural state. This means that there would be no complications should an Epi-LASIK patient wish to take other eye treatments later on.

4. Epi-LASIK is the preferred vision correction method for people who are very active, such as sportsmen, pilots and those in the military. This is because Epi-LASIK does not leave any irregularity in the eye, meaning that even if the eye sustains an impact it does not become easily injured (as the eye fully heals after an Epi-LASIK treatment). In addition, Epi-LASIK promises better results when paired with the Wavefront Laser Correction, another type of vision correction treatment that may be compromised if there is a corneal flap.

Disadvantages

Epi-LASIK may not be the most suitable type of treatment for everyone as it entails a longer recovery time, which is 3 to 5 days. LASIK, in comparison, only requires an overnight recovery.

Conclusion

The advantages and benefits of Epi-LASIK outweighs that of other LASIK procedure types especially in the long run for future eye treatment upgrades and good vision. Consult an Epi-LASIK specialist today to determine your suitability before going for the surgery.

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