Types of Laser Eye Surgery
There are many different types of laser eye surgeries available. Advances in corrective surgery occur all the time, and things are continually changing.
However, some types of laser eye surgery are more popular and widely performed than others. At Island Eyecare, we co-manage your procedure with you to ensure you feel comfortable and informed before committing to such a big decision.
If you’re interested in laser eye surgery, we’d be happy to discuss your options with you so you can decide what might be best for you.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is one of the most commonly performed and well-known laser procedures available. This surgery is favourable among many individuals interested in clear vision because it is quick with minimal downtime.
LASIK uses a precise laser called an excimer laser to make a small flap in the epithelium, the cornea’s outer layer. The laser is then used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue to correct the refractive error, and the flap is replaced to act as a natural bandage.
The entire procedure takes around 30 minutes, but you’ll need a ride home as your vision will be extremely blurry, and you may need to wear very dark sunglasses. Your vision should improve within a few days, but it’s recommended that you avoid any rigorous activity for at least 2 weeks. Your eyes will likely fully heal within a month.
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a procedure that is very similar to LASIK. However, instead of creating a flap with the excimer laser, the epithelium’s top layer is removed completely. The underlying corneal tissue is then reshaped with the laser, and a bandage contact lens is placed overtop to assist with healing.
PRK is not as popular as LASIK, as it typically involves more postoperative discomfort and requires a longer healing process. However, PRK is a suitable option for individuals that have thinner corneas that may not be a good candidate for LASIK.
After PRK, your vision should improve within a week, with total healing time taking between 1 and 3 months.
Corneal cross-linking is a permanent solution for corneal irregularities like keratoconus. In mild stages, keratoconus can be managed with eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, as the condition progresses, corneal cross-linking can be an excellent option.
- Epithelium-off cross-linking, where the epithelium is removed before administering the eye drops.
- Epithelium-on cross-linking, where the epithelium is left intact. This procedure is less invasive.
During the procedure, doctors use eye drops and ultraviolet (UV) light to make the tissues in your cornea stronger. The term “cross-linking” comes from the added bonds between the collagen fibres in your eye, which act as support beams to stabilize the cornea.
The entire procedure typically takes around 60 to 90 minutes, and you’ll be given a bandage contact lens on each treated eye to aid in healing. Your eyes will likely be more sensitive to light, and your vision will probably be poorer than usual for around 1 to 3 months following the procedure.
The goal of corneal cross-linking is to slow the progression of keratoconus and prevent future vision problems, but your eyesight may improve over time following the surgery.