Epi-LASIK is a version of laser vision correction also referred to as PRK or LASEK. EpiLasik is an acronym which simply means “to remove corneal tissue with light.” Epi-LASIK 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 the 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 postoperative day, this lens is removed when the natural skin layer underneath the contact lens has regrown.
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Compared to LASIK, Epi-LASIK:
- Is commonly used for thinner corneas
- Is commonly used for irregularly shaped corneas
- Is less invasive
- May cause more irritation (1 – 2 days)
- Involves a longer time to visual recovery (a gradual improvement over several weeks)
- Is often performed one eye at a time.
The choice of LASIK versus Epi-LASIK is technically complex and varies from individual to individual. During your free consultation at our New York facility, Dr. Moadel can evaluate the safest and more effective procedure for your eyes.