LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. During LASIK procedures, the first laser is a femtosecond laser which creates a thin circular protective flap on the clear layer of your eye (cornea). It traces a 3D pattern of small gas bubbles within the corneal tissue.
Then, this protective hinged flap is lifted, and an excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue to correct your vision.
The top layer of the cornea is then carefully placed back into the position and left to heal without the need for stitches. The flap is like a natural bandage, keeping the eye comfortable as it heals.
Laser procedure is complete in less than 15 minutes for both eyes.
We can’t talk about LASEK procedures without explaining PRK surgery.
LASEK stands for Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy, and PRK stands for Photo-Refractive Keratectomy.
During both techniques, only the excimer laser will be used to correct your vision— rather than the two used in LASIK.
With PRK surgery, the surface eye cells (epithelium) are removed (and discarded) using a high-speed mechanical brush, diluted alcohol, or with the excimer laser itself (Transepithelial PRK). Then, the laser reshapes the stronger layer underneath (the stroma).
Ultimately, a new epithelial layer is supposed to grow back within five days.
Conversely, with LASEK procedures, the surface cells are loosened with a diluted alcohol solution. Then, they are gently moved to the side of your eye, away from the pupil. This gives your surgeon access to the stroma, the layer of your cornea treated by the laser.
Lastly, the epithelial sheet of now non-viable surface cells is replaced over the pupil to their original position on the cornea.
As you can see, the LASEK procedure involves a little of both LASIK and PRK. The ultra-thin top layer of the cornea is loosened, moved, and reattached.
However, the hinged flap made in LASEK surgery only uses the epithelial layer of the eye. It is much thinner than the corneal flap created in LASIK containing epithelial and deeper stromal tissues.
The whole LASEK/PRK process takes around 10 minutes for both eyes. After the laser has reshaped your cornea, the doctor will put a protective contact lens (bandage lens) on your eye to help with the healing process and increase comfort.
This lens is normally taken off after 3 to 5 days post-procedure.
Who Is Eligible for Laser Eye Surgery?
Most patients are suitable for eye laser surgery, whether LASIK or LASEK/PRK.
In general terms, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old, and a maximum of 45.
- Have a stable prescription for at least two years.
- Be in general good health, not suffering from conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, herpes infection in the eye, or cataracts.
- Not be pregnant or breastfeeding.
Laser eye treatment is a walk-in, walk-out procedure. It is safe, painless, and effective.
The surgery takes approximately 10-15 minutes, and you will experience little to no discomfort. Both eyes can be treated on the same day. Local anaesthetic drops will numb your eyes before the procedure. Additionally, you could receive a mild oral sedative to help you relax.
With LASIK surgery, during the creation of the flap (less than a minute), patients may experience slight pressure on their eyes and a “graying” out of vision.
BEST LASER EYE SURGERY SPECIALISTS AT BARRAQUER HOSPITAL
External links – Bibliography
Resolving refractive error after cataract surgery: IOL exchange, piggyback lens, or LASIK. Fernández-Buenaga R, Alió JL, Pérez Ardoy AL, Quesada AL, Pinilla-Cortés L, Barraquer RI.J Refract Surg. 2013 Oct;29
Femtosecond laser-assisted laser in situ keratomileusis Lasik versus photorefractive keratectomy: Effect on ocular surface condition. Sauvageot P, Julio G, Alvarez de Toledo J, Charoenrook V, Barraquer RI.J Cataract Refract Surg. 2017 Feb
New applanation tonometer for myopic patients after Lasik surgery. Iglesias M, Yebra F, Kudsieh B, Laiseca A, Santos C, Nadal J, Barraquer R, Casaroli-Marano RP.Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 27
Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (Lasik). Moshirfar M, Bennett P, Ronquillo Y.2020 Jul 31. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan
Resolving refractive error after cataract surgery: IOL exchange, piggyback lens, or LASIK. Fernández-Buenaga R, Alió JL, Pérez Ardoy AL, Quesada AL, Pinilla-Cortés L, Barraquer RI.J Refract Surg. 2013 Oct
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