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Laser Vision Correction Procedures: The Difference

Epi-LASIK Laser Eye Surgery in Singapore

What Is Epi-LASIK?

Epi-LASIK is a surface-based laser vision correction procedure that improves visual clarity and reduces dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Like traditional LASIK, epi-LASIK is able to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism by reshaping the curvature of the cornea. Unlike traditional LASIK, the surgery does not require cutting a flap in the surface of the cornea and folding it back to access the underlying corneal tissue. Instead, the outer layer of corneal cells (called the epithelium) is removed with a special instrument before the laser treatment is applied.

Advantages of Epi-LASIK

No risk of flap-related complications: Although traditional LASIK is normally a safe procedure, there is a slight risk that the corneal flap will develop complications post-operatively. As it heals, the flap can slip or become dislodged. But with epi-LASIK, there is absolutely no possibility of flap-related complications.

Avoids weakening or thinning the cornea: The flap created during a LASIK procedure can weaken or thin the cornea; however, this is not a concern with epi-LASIK.

Better healing: Patients heal faster and more comfortably after epi-LASIK than with other surface ablation procedures that take the epithelium off with an alcohol solution. The alcohol can be damaging to the epithelium.

Removes the fear factor: Some patients have concerns or fears about the surgeon cutting into the eye to create the corneal flap. However, eliminating the creation of the flap removes the fear factor.

How Epi-LASIK Is Performed

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Step 1: A suction ring is placed on the eye to keep the eye’s position in place.

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Step 2: A device called an epithelium separator is used to remove the surface (epithelium) layer of cornea cells.

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Step 3: With the epithelium removed, the underlying stromal layer of the cornea is ready to be reshaped

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Step 4: An excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea, to improve the way light passes through the front of the eye and is focused on the retina.

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Step 5: After surgery, a bandage contact lens is placed over the eye for a few days, to protect it as the epithelium cells regenerate.

Recovering from Epi-LASIK

After epi-LASIK, the epithelium cells will grow back on their own. This can take several days. Patients may notice an improvement in visual clarity soon after surgery, with the results continuing to improve until they achieve their final visual outcomes.

Most patients are able to drive, and resume work and most of their normal activities, within approximately one week of surgery.

For the fastest and most comfortable recovery, patients should follow all of their surgeon’s post-operative instructions, including those in regard to using special eye drops or other medications. They should attend all follow-up appointments with the surgeon to check their healing progress.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Epi-LASIK?

Because the flap of corneal cells removed during e-LASIK is so thin, the procedure can be a great option for individuals who would be excluded from qualifying for traditional LASIK because of insufficient corneal tissue.

Epi-LASIK is also suitable for individuals with naturally dry eyes. The procedure doesn’t remove or cut off the nerve supply to the cornea, so there is a lower risk of dry eye symptoms after surgery, as compared with other laser eye surgeries.

Finally, epi-LASIK can be a good option for individuals who, because of their professions or hobbies, have a greater risk of getting hit in the eye and having the healing flap dislodged after LASIK. This is true for professional athletes, members of law enforcement or first responders.

Learn More about Epi-LASIK

For more information about epi-LASIK and whether you are a good candidate for the surgery, please contact Clearvision Eye Clinic & Laser Centre and request an appointment with our team.