What is Epi-LASIK?
Epi-Lasik is a laser eye surgery procedure that was developed as an improvement to Lasik and Lasek procedures. It is similar in many ways, and treats the same conditions.
One of the biggest differences is in how the epithelial layer is handled between these three methods. This surgery uses a blunt plastic oscillating blade to separate the epithelial layer.
The epithelium, which remains attached by a small hinge at one edge, is laid back to expose the cornea.
Lasik and Lasek
use sharper, finer blades to lift a flap of epithelium. These can cut the layer too thick.
In order to view the content, you must install the Adobe Flash Player. Please click here
to get started.
Also, Lasek uses alcohol to loosen the epithelium, which can damage these cells. While some surgeons choose to use alcohol during the procedure, it is not usually used in this procedure.
The cornea is shaped with an excimer laser as in other laser eye surgery procedures. Then the epithelium is laid back in place, and a temporary lens is used to secure the flap during healing.
Recovery, including final visual improvement, can take from three days to six months. Each person heals differently.
How Does It Work?
Epi-Lasik works much the same way as Lasik and other laser surgeries. The major difference is in how the surgeon gains access to the corneal tissue. As described above, these differences do affect healing times, outcomes, post-op care and recovery differently.
In general, it works because reshaping the cornea allows light to be refracted more accurately at different focal points, resulting in clearer vision.
Pros and Cons
less pain than with
or Lasek lower probability of hazeflap more stable than Lasek or Lasik flaplonger healing time than Lasikcannot drive for 7 to 14 daysmay take up to 6 months for vision to stabilize
Epi-Lasik is indicated if you:
have thin or flat corneas – not enough tissue for a proper Lasik flapalternative to Lasekare involved in activities that risk getting hit in the eye – more stable flaphave low level
correctible by laser eye surgeryare a
qualified candidate for laser eye surgery
stable corrective lens prescriptionare at least 18 years of agecorneal shape within treatable range
Epi-Lasik Isn’t Recommended for Everyone
Epi-Lasik is not indicated if you:
engage in hobbies or professional activities that are rough or pose risk of hitting eyes
have dry eye
have had lens prescription changes within two yearshave cataractshave glaucomaare pregnant or nursing (lactatinghave corneal scarringare taking steroids or immunosuppressantshave eye disease or abnormalities that will slow healing such as:
Herpes simplex of the eye
This surgery has risks
that are similar to other laser eye surgery procedures.
Choosing your eye surgeon
carefully can significantly reduce risks.
Your surgeon should be well experienced in the procedure and willing to answer all of your questions satisfactorily.
Though rare, the risks that occur most often include:
over- or under-corrections halos or starbursts around lights erosion of the epithelium dry eye infection corneal scarring eyelid droop chronic discomfort inability to tolerate contact lenses
There have been no reports of blindness resulting from laser eye surgery. According to the Eye Surgery Education Council (ESEC) less than 1% of patients experience serious problems when proper screening is done and an experienced surgeon performs the procedure.
Return From Epi-Lasik To Laser Eye Surgery