Epi-LASIK Singapore – So you’re here because you have heard of this procedure called Epi-LASIK. Yes you heard it’s different from conventional LASIK, but you’re not too sure what is it.
Yes there are many types of laser techniques out there in the market today. However, not all may suit you. It all depends on your own eye requirements such as how thick your cornea is, the dimensions of your pupils and the degree of refraction error.
So here we go…
What is Epi-LASIK?
Epi-LASIK (Epipolis Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) is one of the newer eye refractive surgery technique that was developed to solve some of the problems associated with LASIK and LASEK (a variation of PRK – Photorefractive Keratectomy). Epi-LASIK is thus a cross between the two types of surgery, with some key differences.
LASIK will cut into the cornea either with a sharp blade or a laser. However, this procedure has the risk of the flap of cornea being cut too much and affecting the eye, although recent new technology known as Intralase (Bladeless LASIK) have helped reduced this risk.
For LASEK, it only involves cutting the outer layer of the cornea, and the cornea itself is not cut. Alcohol will then be used to loosen the epithelial sheet from the eye for the procedure.
In Epi-LASIK, similar to LASEK, the cornea will not be cut, but instead only the uppermost epithelium layer is removed. Also, instead of using alcohol like in LASEK, the surgeon will use a plastic blade (like in LASIK), called an epithelial separator, to separate the sheet from the eye. This will thus avoid the possibility of a reaction from the alcohol, which can kill epithelial cells.
After the epithelial flap is made, it is gently lifted and folded out of the way for the eye surgery. After the procedure, the epithelial flap is placed back onto the eye and a special contact lens that acts as a bandage is placed on the eye to keep the flap in place while the epithelium grows back.
Advantages of Epi-LASIK
- Cornea is not cut – Since the cornea is not cut, there is no risk of cornea infection, inflammations or flap wrinkles and dislodgement that exists in conventional LASIK. The cornea structure is also protected and conditions such as cornea thinning is kept at bay.
- Alcohol is not used – Because alcohol is not used, there is no chance of an adverse reaction from the eyes, which results in faster healing and less pain.
- Less flap complications.
- Rejected from other types of laser eye surgery – If you have been rejected for traditional LASIK due to a thin cornea, you can consider this procedure.
Risks of Epi-LASIK
This procedure has a very good safety profile, including a decreased risk of flap complications, infections and haze. However, there are still risks which the patient will have to understand before undergoing Epi-LASIK Singapore.
- Vision Loss Risk – Due to infection from bacteria since cuts are made to the eye, and also a condition called Cornea Estasia where the cornea warp in odd directions leading to a loss in vision
- Visual Debilitating symptoms – Dry eyes, haze that causes mildly decreased vision, halo around lights at night.
What is the Epi-LASIK Procedure?
Prior to surgery, you would already have been asked to stop wearing your hard contact lens 10 days before, or soft contact lens 3 days before surgery.
On procedure surgery day, you should arrive at the clinic at least one hour before to your appointment. To prepare for surgery, your eyes will be cleaned and anaesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eyes. Once your eye is totally numb, an eyelid holder will be used to hold your eyelids in place to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
The surgery itself proper will thus begin. First, the epi-keratome will be used to create a hinged epithelial sheet. During this process, you may feel some pressure on the eye, but no pain. You will then be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes your cornea. The Excimer laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative exam. Once the laser has completed its task, the epithelial sheet will then be replaced along with a bandage soft contact lens to protect your eye.
Total time needed to complete the treatment should take no more than 10 minutes, depending on the amount of correction needed.
>>Read more here on the entire LASIK procedure<<
EPI-LASIK Recovery Time
Recovery from Epi-LASIK is longer than traditional LASIK but quicker than other laser eye surgeries. In three days, one should be able to regain vision, but some patients do take a significantly longer period of time. After a week, one should be able to drive.
The eyes will take between three to six months for the vision to stabilise.
Since every patient heals differently, some patients may over react to the procedure and some may under react resulting in overcorrections and undercorrections. If there is a need too, you can then discuss with your doctor whether a re-treatment would help fine tune your vision if you are over or under corrected.
Who should do Epi-LASIK?
Epi-LASIK works best for people with thin corneas or insufficient tissue for a good LASIK flap.
This may also be safer than conventional LASIK for people who have a higher chance of being hit in the eye, either via their occupation or their hobby (boxers, professional or leisure soccer, police officers, military personnel etc). This is because once hit in the eye, there is a risk that the flap may be dislodged.
Ultimately, discuss with your eye doctor why this this procedure may or may not be a better option for you. Certain doctors may also be better at certain surgeries, so it is important that you look for the right eye doctor.
>>Do check out our LASIK checklist to help you make your decision easier<<
Most importantly, take care of your eyes after surgery!
Most importantly, after any laser eye surgery, it is very important to follow your eye surgeon’s instructions very clearly, because the quality of your final vision after Epi-LASIK Singapore is dependent on how well your corneas heal. Remember to use your eye drops and any medications your doctor prescribes, and don’t miss your follow up appointment.