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Surgical procedures: PRK, LASIK, LASEK, Epi - LASIK.

What is PRK and how is it performed?

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a wide area superficial ablation of the cornea, to correct refractive errors. The procedure takes 1 to 2 minutes following anaesthesia with topical eye drops. There is no 'flap' created in this surgical procedure as the superficial corneal layer (epithelium) is removed by the Ophthalmologist before small amounts of corneal tissue are laser ablated. Vision generally improves following PRK over a period of weeks to months. Use of PRK has been in decline with the widespread adoption of LASIK

What is LASIK and how is it performed?

Laser assisted in-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a surgical procedure where a thin flap (stromal flap) is cut in the surface of the cornea which is then ablated by the laser. The surgeon creates a flap by cutting straight across the front edge of the cornea with a microkeratome and folding the flap back. Once the protective flap has been created, the laser is then used to remove microscopic layers of tissue, depending on the eye condition being remedied. The laser then 'ablates' the exposed corneal surface and then the 'flap' is placed back onto the cornea. All patients considering LASIK will undergo a number of tests to ensure this surgical procedure is safe and appropriate for each individual. LASIK is rapid, with the laser treatment typically taking less than one minute and is generally painless with the use of anaesthetic eye drops. Most patients experience improved vision on the same day as surgery and are able to return to work the next day.

What is LASEK and how is it performed?

Laser epithelial Keratomileusis is the latest of the refractive surgical procedures. It is similar to LASIK as a surgical 'flap' is created before laser ablation; however, it eliminates the use of a microkeratome. Epithelial cells forming the outer layer of the cornea are gently lifted and folded over, using a mild alcohol solution to loosen the cells. Corneal reshaping with the laser then occurs, the cell layer is repositioned and a soft contact lens is placed over the eye for 3-4 days to help keep the cells in place during healing.

What is Epi - LASIK and how is it performed?

Epi - LASIK is a surgical procedure where a thin flap (epithelium flap) is cut in the surface of the cornea which is then ablated by the laser. Procedure is almost exactly same as LASIK but considered a better version or LASEK as epithelium remains in a very good condition post surgery provides a better healing, faster visual recovery and less pain.

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