Laser Eye Surgery: The past 20 or so years has attracted great discussion and controversy over the concept of laser corrective eye surgery. As the years have passed, so too have the painful symptoms and post-operative complications, though a significant proportion of people remain sceptical regarding the very long term future ramifications of laser surgery.

The most common procedure for laser surgery is called ‘Lasik’, first introduced in 1998 it has now been refined using laser cutting technology (instead of a blade) to cut a small flap around the cornea’s surface. The flap is folded back, the area underneath treated with precise laser action, before being repositioned – staying in place by natural suction. The benefits of this procedure include pain free recovery, quick sight restoration and better results for severe short sight (6-10 dioptres).

The rival procedure available is called ‘Epi-Lasek’ which treats the surface of the eye without cutting into it. The very thin surface layer of cells (epithelium) is softened with alcohol and folded aside allowing the laser to work effectively. The risk of complications here are certainly the lowest since its non-invasive, but often gives more discomfort and recovery time is longer. More commonly used in cases up to 5 dioptres.

‘Implantable lenses’ can also be used for very severe cases (-23 dioptres). The procedures of ‘Wavefront’ and ‘CK’ are less common – but whatever procedure one chooses is dependant on your attitude to pain, risk, speed of recovery and cost.

Noel McCrystal
BSc.(Hons.)MCOptom.Dip.Sc.V MASv.P

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