Epi-LASIK is also another form of laser eye surgery and it was created in order to solve some of the potential problems of the initial forms of laser surgery. One of those initial, and still very popular, types is LASIK surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon cuts a small epithelial flap.
Once the flap is cut, an excimer laser will be used to shape the cornea. Then, a spatula tool is used to place the epithelial flap back. Lastly, the eye surgeon will place a contact lens over the eye so that the epithelial flap can grow back normally.
While this is still a fairly precise procedure, in LASIK surgery there is still the risk of the surgeon cutting the cornea too thickly, while there is not that risk with Epi-LASIK surgery. Epi-LASIK surgery also addresses some of the other issues that come with LASEK eye surgery.
The first of those issues is the sharp blade that’s used in traditional LASEK surgery. Epi-LASIK surgery uses a blunt, plastic blade that oscillates that not only has smaller room for error, but also gives the surgeon more flexibility with the blade.
Epi-LASIK surgery also doesn’t use alcohol to separate the thin sheet from the cornea, but a plastic blade. This is a better solution as alcohol kills the cells that are in the epithelial flap. Many surgeons today however are using alcohol even in Epi-LASIK surgery. Studies have shown that this doesn’t cause any pain during the procedure or after treatment.
Epi-LASIK eye surgery is most recommended for those that have corneas that are not steep enough. This is because the procedure makes it very difficult for the surgeon to get to the cornea enough in order to flatten it.
About three days after the surgery, the epithelial flap has usually grown back and the contact lenses can be removed. Driving is also usually not allowed for about a week after Epi-LASIK surgery. Vision also may not be perfect as soon as the lenses come off. Many patients experience 20/40 vision after surgery, while a few even have 20/20 vision as soon as the lenses come off.
However, it can take as long as three to six months to experience the full effects of the surgery. It’s important to note that treatment time for traditional LASEK surgery is not as long; you can usually drive the next day; and better results are achieved more quickly.