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Laser eye surgery involves using a laser to change the shape of the cornea at the front of the Eye. This improves the ability of the eye to focus more clearly and can treat short sight, long sight and astigmatism or blurred vision, eliminating the need for glasses. At Midland Eye we have installed state of the art laser technology to achieve vision correction and treat abnormalities of the eye and offer both LASIK and LASEK laser eye treatment.
The newest laser eye surgery procedure is called LASEK. This was invented in Britain in 1996 by Professor Sunil Shah.
This is a surface based treatment. A “blister” is caused on the surface of the eye by using some alcohol held in a cup on the eye. The roof of this “blister”, the epithelium, is pushed aside as a flap without any cutting. The laser is then applied and then the epithelium placed back down and covered by a bandage contact lens for 3 to 4 days.
There are advantages of LASEK over PRK in terms of rate of healing, haze and pain. There are advantages over LASIK in terms of the small risk in LASIK from cutting the flap. The disadvantages compared to LASIK are slower recovery times and possibly more discomfort.
The quality of vision with LASEK may be superior to LASIK in the lower prescriptions.
The “flap and zap” method or LASIK involves treatment in the middle of the cornea. By this technique a thin flap of the corneal tissue, which includes the surface cells, is first made with an automated instrument. This flap is hinged and is folded back so that the laser treatment can be applied to the stroma as in PRK or LASEK.
Once the laser application is completed the flap is replaced and sticks back into position within a few minutes. This procedure, unlike PRK, does not cause significant pain in the post operative period. Visual improvement is realised very quickly within 24 to 48 hours, as there is no “scratch” that has to heal. Haze hardly occurs with this technique although the possibility of surgical complications is marginally higher.
Laser eye surgery is suitable for most people over the age of 18. Ideally your eye prescription will have stayed the same for two years. If you are over the age of 45 a different procedure, clear lens exchange may be more beneficial as it helps with reading as well.
The final results of laser eye surgery will vary from patient to patient given the unique nature of each patient’s eyes. Current statistics show that LASIK success rates can be as high as 100 percent, of patients achieving vision of 6/6 or 20/20 or better without the aid of glasses or contact lenses depending on the prescription.
Eye numbing anaesthetic drops are administered before the procedure so that no pain is felt during the actual procedure. Afterwards some patients may experience some mild discomfort but this should subside within 1-3 days depending on the treatment performed.
Laser eye surgery is a relatively simple surgery and is one of the most popular elective procedures, however all surgery carries some risk.
It is advisable to allow a week off work although it is normal to be able to resume work after 4-5 days.
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