Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery (also known as refractive surgery or vision correction) corrects poor vision, by reshaping the cornea. Reshaping is achieved by cutting the cornea using specialist surgical tools or by using a laser and can take only a few minutes.
Femtosecond and excimer lasers are used, which are incredibly precise and accurate. Lasers reshape the front surface (cornea) of the eyes to focus better than before the procedure. It can correct farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism. Vision improvement can be noticed almost immediately.
The laser works in a matter of seconds, sending pulses of laser beams onto the cornea to, reshaping any imperfections. Subtle adjustments are made to the shape of the surface of the eye (the cornea), correcting its tiny imperfections and making vision clearer and sharper.
Depending upon the type of laser surgery, the surgeon will either scrape off the epithelial cells for Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) or cut and peel back a flap over the cornea for Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy (LASEK) and for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK). The flap is then replaced for a LASEK or LASIK patient.
There are three main types of laser eye surgery:
- LASIK (most common): Two lasers are used: one to open up a thin flap in the surface of the cornea and another to reshape the cornea. A controlled amount of tissue is removed and the protective flap is then smoothed back over and stays in place without stitches.
- Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE): The cornea is reshaped through a small, self-sealing hole.
- Surface laser treatments (PRK, LASEK and TransPRK): The clear skin covering the cornea is removed so the surgeon can reshape the cornea with a laser. The skin then grows back naturally. LASEK eye surgery involves the surface skin of the cornea being polished away and a laser evaporates the tissue required to change the prescription off the surface of the cornea itself.