Epi-Lasik Vision Correction
Epi-LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure that can give you freedom from glasses and contact lenses, like LASIK, but is an option for many patients who are not good candidates for LASIK or LASEK. In Epi-LASIK, the entire epithelium is lifted from the cornea, and later replaced, so it avoids the issues of creating the small hinged flap used in LASIK. The advantage of epi-LASIK over LASEK, is that alcohol is not used in the eye.
The Epi-LASIK Laser Vision Correction Procedure
In the epi-LASIK procedure you will be awake, and special drops are used to numb your eyes. An epikeratome is used to separate the surface layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, which is folded out of the way, so that the excimer laser can be applied to make adjustments to your cornea. This sheet is very thin, as opposed to the flap created in LASIK.
The epithelium is put back in place and you will wear special contacts for a few days while it seals back in place.
This is very similar to LASEK, but in LASEK alcohol is used to loosen the epithelium. While many patients do well with LASEK, alcohol is harmful to the cells and can delay healing. Some patients have a reaction to the alcohol.
Epi-LASIK has several advantages over LASIK, LASEK and PRK:
- Less risk of haze than PRK and LASEK
- Faster recovery with less discomfort than PRK or LASEK
- Can be performed on patients who are not eligible for LASIK due to thin corneas
- Safe for very steep and very flat corneas Appropriate for patients who are severely nearsighted
- Preserves more of the cornea than LASIK, so more enhancement procedures are possible in the future
- No flap is created, so there is no risk of flap complications
- No flap to be dislodged for those who play contact sports
- Nerves in the cornea are not cut so risk of dry eye is reduced
Initial recovery can take longer and involve more discomfort with Epi-LASIK vs LASIK. For epi-LASIK patients, it can take up to two weeks for vision to clear. LASIK patients typically experience immediate improvement in vision. At the two-week point, results are typically comparable for patients of both procedures and in both the long-term results and stabilization of vision can take six months.
To learn more about epi-LASIK and other laser vision correction options, please search this directory for a list of laser eye surgeons near you.