In Lasik surgery, a small incision is made in the cornea to produce a small flap. This leads to vision loss for about 20 to 30 seconds. The laser – which is programmed before the operation starts – will then reshape the cornea. The procedure is not painful but can be quite unsettling due to the smell of burning that occurs when the laser comes into contact with the surface of the eye.
As complications can arise as a result of the incision, Lasik is considered the highest risk of the different forms of laser eye surgery, although it also has many advantages, for example a greatly improved recovery time. One of the problems which may arise during surgery is that the cornea may become detached. However, in most instances, the surgeon is able to reattach the cornea after treatment is complete.
Lasek varies from Lasik in that no incision is made. Instead, after the eye area has been prepared for surgery an alcoholic solution is used to soften the epithelium, which is then folded to one side to allow the laser to reshape the cornea. Once the procedure is complete, this will be pushed back into place. A contact lens will be placed over the cornea to hold the epithelium in place. This will need to be worn for several days.
In a small number of cases PRK is used instead of Lasek, particularly if the patient has an unusually thin cornea or large pupils. The procedure is very similar, but an excimer laser removes a thin layer of cells from the surface of the cornea and the eye is then reshaped to allow better focusing. This is not painful, although PRK often experience more discomfort than those undergoing other forms of laser eye treatment. The protective layer of cells will grow back naturally in the weeks following surgery.
If you have concerns about laser eye surgery, or are anxious about what to expect, do not hesitate to contact the vision clinic. The staff will be happy to answer your enquiries and alleviate your fears.