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This is still a surface based treatment. A “blister” is caused on the surface of the eye by using some alcohol held in a cup on the eye. The roof of this “blister”, the epithelium, is pushed aside as a flap without any cutting. The laser is then applied and then the epithelium placed back down and covered by a bandage contact lens for 3 to 4 days.
There are advantages of LASEK over PRK in terms of rate of healing, haze and pain. There are advantages over LASIK in terms of the small risk in LASIK from cutting the flap. The disadvantages compared to LASIK are slower recovery times and possibly more discomfort.
The quality of vision with LASEK may be superior to LASIK in the lower prescriptions.
The “flap and zap” method or LASIK involves treatment in the middle of the cornea. By this technique a thin flap of the corneal tissue, which includes the surface cells, is first made with an automated instrument. This flap is hinged and is folded back so that the laser treatment can be applied to the stroma as in PRK or LASEK.
Once the laser application is completed the flap is replaced and sticks back into position within a few minutes. This procedure, unlike PRK, does not cause significant pain in the post operative period. Visual improvement is realised very quickly within 24 to 48 hours, as there is no “scratch” that has to heal. Haze hardly occurs with this technique although the possibility of surgical complications is marginally higher.
LASIK surgery is a quick and virtually painless refractive procedure performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure involves the creation of a thin flap on the cornea (the front of the eye) using a precise instrument called a microkeratome or a FemtoSecond laser.
This corneal flap is folded back allowing a refractive surgeon to reshape the cornea using a laser. Once the cornea has been reshaped, the corneal flap is folded back into its original position where it will heal naturally without the need for sutures or stitches. LASIK surgery takes only a few minutes to perform per eye.
The final results of LASIK surgery will vary from patient to patient given the unique nature of each patient’s eyes. Current statistics show that LASIK success rates can be as high as 100 percent, of patients achieving vision of 6/6 or 20/20 or better without the aid of glasses or contact lenses depending on the prescription.
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