The epikeratome laser-assisted keratomileusis procedure (Epi-LASIK), is a laser vision correction technique that combines several advantages of the LASIK and PRK procedure, for a safe and effective alternative method of vision correction.
How it Works
With the LASIK procedure, a small flap of tissue is created on the outer portion of your cornea, folded back, and the vision correction treatment is applied underneath with the Excimer laser.
In PRK, an alcohol solution is applied to the outer surface of the eye (called the epithelium) that dissolves the tissue cells. Vision correction treatment is then applied to the outer surface of the cornea with the excimer laser. After the procedure, a bandage contact lens is placed in the eye for 4 to 6 days while the epithelium slowly regenerates itself.
Epi-LASIK combines the flap creation of LASIK with the ability to treat the outer portion of the cornea of PRK, for what is essentially a ‘surface LASIK’ procedure.
With epi-LASIK, the surgeon uses a unique device called an epikeratome to mechanically separate the epithelium to make a flap similar to a traditional LASIK flap in this outermost part of the eye. The vision correction treatment is then applied to the surface level of the cornea underneath with the Excimer laser, and the epithelium flap put back in place. Unlike LASIK, no sharp blades are required to create the flap. Unlike PRK, no alcohol is required.
Advantages of Epi-LASIK
No alcohol = no damage to the epithelial cells. This promotes improved comfort and faster healing times.
Reduced risk of flap complications associated with traditional LASIK with a microkeratome.
Less post-operative haze, as the epithelial cells remain intact to protect the underlying treatment area from inflammatory debris and tears.
Less risk of Dry Eyes. In LASIK, the corneal nerves are severed with flap creation, which can increase dry eye symptoms. This is avoided altogether with epi-LASIK.
Patients with corneas too thin for LASIK may still be epi-LASIK candidates. Epi-LASIK removes approximately 35% less tissue than LASIK, meaning many people who are not candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas (the most common reason) can still have their vision corrected with epi-LASIK.
Is Epi-LASIK right for you?
Epi-LASIK could be your solution for vision without glasses or contacts IF:
- You want to eliminate wearing glasses or contacts
- You are at least 18 years old
- Your eyeglass prescription hasn’t changed in the last year
- You have no other eye health issues that would prevent the procedure
Additionally, if you have ever been told you weren’t a candidate for LASIK in the past due to thin corneas, then epi-LASIK might be your opportunity to undergo vision correction after all.
If you think you might be a candidate for epi-LASIK and want to learn more, schedule a vision exam with us today!