The articles below will help you learn more about different types of laser eye surgery with Benefits and risks of laser eye surgery.
Laser eye surgery, or laser vision correction, involves the use of a laser to change the shape of the surface of the eye (called the cornea). By altering the shape of the cornea, laser eye surgery can remove any focusing error, just like wearing a pair of glasses or contact lenses does.
The difference is that laser eye surgery is a permanent solution, so you can live life to the full again, and enjoy clear vision without the hassle and restrictions of wearing glasses or contacts.
What are the different types of laser eye surgery?
LASIK is the most common laser eye surgery. LASIK starts with the creation of a thin flap in the cornea. Your surgeon uses a blade or a laser to make this flap. The laser is considered more desirable by some doctors because of its precision, such as fewer visually significant complications ; however, all-laser LASIK costs a bit more than LASIK that uses a blade. Once the flap is created, the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea, which corrects the refractive error.
PRK is the second most common Type of laser eye surgery. PRK starts with the removal of a portion of surface of the cornea or epithelial tissue. There is therefore no need for flap creation, and the removed tissue grows back. Some patients prefer PRK because they don’t want a corneal flap, and some patients are better candidates for PRK eye surgery than for LASIK (for instance, people with thin corneas). Once the epithelium is removed, a laser is used to reshape the cornea. The laser is the same (i.e., excimer) as the one used in LASIK.
LASEK is similar to LASIK and PRK, but it starts with the application of alcohol to the corneal epithelium. This loosens the outermost corneal cells and allows the surgeon to move them out of the way, without removing them, for the laser procedure. After reshaping the stroma with the excimer laser , the surgeon can replace the sheet of epithelial cells and put a contact lens to let it heal.
Epi-LASIK starts the way LASIK does, except the flap is thinner and made only of epithelial tissue. Once the flap is created, it is moved aside, just enough that the surgeon can reshape the stroma underneath with the excimer laser. The flap of epithelium is then replaced and covered with a contact-lens bandage to heal. Some consider Epi-LASIK a hybrid of LASIK and LASEK. Some surgeons believe Epi-LASIK is a good option because the flap exists only in the epithelium layer, and because there’s no alcohol used during the procedure.
Benefits and Risks of Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery is carried out via highly trained specialists, As well as within most cases, your results are generally satisfactory. A number of patients feel their lives are vastly improved When its dependence from prescription glasses or contact lenses is reduced or maybe eliminated. However, laser eye surgery likewise poses certain risks.With PRK, the risks include:
- pain, ranging from moderate to severe, for the first few days;
- hazy vision during the healing process, which usually clears up within the first week after surgery; and
- regression, which in some cases can cause the eye to regress to its previous refractive error within about six months. If this happens, the patient may need a second operation (called an “enhancement”) or may need to start wearing glasses or contacts again.
With LASIK, there is less post-operative pain. However, since this procedure involves cutting into the cornea, there is a greater risk of complications, including the following:
- dry eyes, which can range from mild to significant and can affect vision;
- poor quality of night vision due to halos and glare, which could affect your ability to drive at night; and
- a serious condition called corneal ectasia, which is a weakening and bulging of the cornea. Severe cases may need to be treated with a corneal transplant or implant.
A serious complication that may occur with both PRK and LASIK is corneal infection (infectious keratitis), which may result in significant loss of vision.
The more recent LASEK surgery shares some of the problems associated with both PRK (pain, haze and regression) and LASIK. However, the LASEK procedure reduces the risk of some of the complications associated with cutting a flap in the cornea, such as weakening of the eye and dry eyes.
The Risks of laser eye surgery go up significantly for people with certain conditions or lifestyles. When weighing the risks, you should have a detailed talk with the surgeon about the following:
- your medical condition (including family history) – especially regarding such conditions as lupus, diabetes and keloid formation, as well as any eye diseases (e.g., herpes simplex, glaucoma, dry eyes, eyelid infections or previous eye surgery);
- whether or not you play sports where you are likely to be hit in the face – after LASIK, there is a risk for years that the flap could dislocate; and
- your career plans – some occupations (e.g., police officer, pilot) have specific vision requirements that can be achieved with laser eye surgery. Still, it is a good idea to discuss your plans for surgery with current or future employers, as well as your surgeon, to make sure your plans do not affect your prospects for employment.