(epipolis laser in-situ keratomileusis)
Epi-LASIK is a version of laser vision correction also reffered to as PRK or LASEK. EpiLasik is an acronym which simply means "to remove corneal tissue with light." EpiLasik uses the computer controlled Excimer laser to reshape the top 5-15% of the cornea. The actual time of exposure to the laser beam is usually less than 45 seconds. The laser is adjusted to each individual prescription. The amount of corneal tissue reshaped is only a small percentage of the total thickness of the cornea, so that the strength of the cornea is unchanged. Each pulse of the laser reshapes approximately one thousandth of a millimeter of cornea. The laser beam is "cool," meaning no heat is generated.
Clinical studies comparing LASIK to Epi-LASIK have generally shown equivalent visual outcomes and results. The difference in the procedures lies in the time required for the skin layer of the cornea needs to regrow after Epi-LASIK. Following Epi-LASIK, a soft, protective contact lens is placed on your eye. On the second or third post operative day, this lens is removed when the natural skin layer underneath the contact lens has regrown.
Compared to LASIK, Epi-LASIK:
- Is commonly used for thinner corneas
- Is commonly used for irregular shaped corneas
- Is less invasive
- May cause more irritation (1 - 2 days)
- Involves a longer time to visual recovery (gradual improvement over several weeks)
- Is often performed one eye at a time