EPI-LASIK is a technique that combines the advantages of PRK and LASIK and eliminates most of their disadvantages. Treating the surface of the cornea without any cutting of the cornea may produce a more predictable outcome for wavefront-guided “Custom” laser vision correction. Advantages of EPI-LASIK include: (as compared to traditional LASIK) less risk of complications and significantly less chance of extended postoperative dry eye problems, and (as compared to LASEK or PRK) earlier visual recovery and, less postoperative discomfort and haze. EPI-LASIK is also ideal for treating patients with thin corneas since it removes about twenty percent less tissue than LASIK.
In order to perform PRK, we remove the surface epithelium (the thin layer of skin covering the front surface of the cornea). Once removed, the surface of the eye is treated with the laser. After the procedure, a bandage contact lens is placed in the eye for four to six days while the epithelium slowly regenerates itself.
Traditional LASEK uses alcohol to separate the epithelium, but with LASEK the epithelium is pushed aside during the laser treatment, then repositioned over the cornea before the bandage contact lens is placed on the eye.
In LASEK, the use of alcohol kills the epithelial cells and in PRK, the epithelial cells are removed. This causes mild to severe swelling of the cornea that results in discomfort, light sensitivity, and a slower return to functional vision. The EPI-LASIK procedure uses a unique Epi-Keratome to mechanically separate the epithelium from the “true” corneal surface, in order to make a flap similar to a traditional LASIK flap. Unlike LASIK, no sharp blades and NO CUTTING are required. And unlike LASEK, no alcohol is required.
In summary, EPI-LASIK is a significant advancement in laser vision correction. It is very exciting to be able to offer a procedure that further improves the visual results and decreases the potential for side effects, especially those associated with dry eye. Consider a complimentary screening and see for yourself…a world without dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses.