LASIK Alternatives in Wilmington – PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK
All three procedures – PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK – are known as surface ablation procedures because they do not require the creation of a LASIK-style corneal flap. Instead, they require the removal of the epithelium, a thin outer layer of the cornea, prior to the application of laser energy from an excimer laser.
It is important to note that while surface ablation treatments often lead to successful vision correction results without the risk of corneal flap-related complications, these procedures all require a longer recovery period than LASIK. Our Wilmington PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK patients are advised to take at least three to four days off work. In contrast, our Wilmington LASIK patients are advised to take one to two days off work.
Depending on your LASIK eye surgery candidacy and unique vision correction needs, Dr. Smith will recommend the most appropriate vision correction procedure for you.
Please read the paragraphs below to learn the differences between PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was the first type of laser vision correction surgery performed. It involves the removal of the epithelium through the use of a dilute alcohol solution. Next, the excimer laser is used to correct refractive errors. However, the epithelium is not returned to its original position following surgery. Instead, the eye is covered with a bandage contact lens to facilitate healing as the epithelial cells grow back. Once the eye has healed, most of our Wilmington, Delaware PRK patients enjoy excellent vision at all distances.
LASEK is very similar to PRK in that the epithelium is removed prior to the use of an excimer laser to correct vision. However, in LASEK an epithelial flap is created with a surgical blade called a trephine, loosened with a dilute alcohol solution and removed. Following vision correction, the flap is repositioned onto the eye and protected with a bandage contact lens. A LASEK flap is generally 90 to 100 microns thick (versus 120 to 160 microns for LASIK).
Epi-LASIK is a modification of LASEK. It differs in the method used for the creation of the epithelial flap. Like in LASEK, in Epi-LASIK the epithelial flap is much thinner than a LASIK-style flap and is replaced after vision correction. However, a special surgical tool called an epithelial separator is used for the removal of the flap. No use of alcohol is needed to loosen the epithelium. Following surgery, the flap is returned to its original position and a bandage contact lens is placed over the eye.
Please contact our practice at (302) 993-1300 to speak with Amber, our lasik coordinator, to schedule a lasik consult.