Laser eye surgery is an umbrella term for several eye surgeries used to correct refractive errors. That means how your eye focuses light. The most common types of laser eye surgery include LASIK, PRK, LASEK and EpiLASIK.
Each of the four laser eye surgery procedures below uses the same special laser, called an “excimer” laser. This is the procedure to reshape the cornea. This is what corrects vision. But laser eye surgery can vary in the specifics of the procedure. Also on the recovery time and the surgical instruments used on you. You might be a better candidate for PRK, for instance, than for LASIK.
Your ophthalmologist should be able to determine from a comprehensive, laser-eye-surgery-specific eye exam which procedure is best for you. His recommendation will follow which procedure he thinks will give you the best possible outcome. Most patients achieve 20/20 or better vision after laser eye surgery.
LASIK (Laser in Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is the most common laser eye surgery. Its starts with the creation of a thin flap in the cornea. Your surgeon uses a blade or a laser to make this flap. The laser is considered more desirable by some doctors because of its precision, such as fewer visually significant complications; however, all-laser LASIK costs a bit more than LASIK that uses a blade. Once the flap is created, the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea, which corrects the refractive error.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK is the second most common type of laser eye surgery. Its starts with the removal of a portion of the surface of the cornea or epithelial tissue. There is no need for flap creation, and the removed tissue grows back. Some patients prefer PRK because they don’t want a corneal flap, and some patients are better candidates for PRK eye surgery than for LASIK (for instance, people with thin corneas). Once the epithelium is removed, a laser is used to reshape the cornea. The laser is the same (i.e., excimer) as the one used in LASIK.
LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)
LASEK is similar to LASIK and PRK, but it starts with the application of alcohol to the corneal epithelium. This loosens the outermost corneal cells and allows the surgeon to move them out of the way, without removing them, for the laser procedure. After reshaping the stroma with the excimer laser, the surgeon can replace the sheet of epithelial cells and put a contact lens to let it heal.
Epi-LASIK (Epithelial Laser in Situ Keratomileusis)
Epi-LASIK starts the way LASIK does, except the flap is thinner and made only of epithelial tissue. Once the flap is created, it is moved aside, just enough that the surgeon can reshape the stroma underneath with the excimer laser. The flap of epithelium is then replaced and covered with a contact-lens bandage to heal. Some consider Epi-LASIK a hybrid of LASIK and LASEK. Some surgeons believe Epi-LASIK is a good option because the flap exists only in the epithelium layer, and because there’s no alcohol used during the procedure.
A pediatric ophthalmologist is a medical and surgical doctor. All ophthalmologists have training in children’s eye disorders, but the pediatric ophthalmologist has additional training, experience, and expertise in examining children, and has the greatest knowledge of possible conditions that affect the pediatric patient and his/her eyes. Neurologic development of vision occurs up until approximately age 12 years. Misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), uncorrected refractive error (myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism), and asymmetry of refractive error (anisometropia) between the two eyes can negatively affect this development and cause amblyopia (“lazy eye”). If these conditions are diagnosed and treated early, good vision can develop and can be maintained. Certain diseases elsewhere in the body, such as diabetes, can affect the eyes, and the pediatric ophthalmologist addresses
- Prescriptions for glasses and/or contact lenses.
- Amblyopia (“lazy eye”) therapy including glasses, patching, and pharmacologic treatment.
- Topical and or/systemic therapy for eye infections, chalazia, glaucoma, blocked tear ducts, and inflammation on the eye or in the eye. Medicines include antibiotics, antivirals and steroids.
- Probe and Irrigation for congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (blocked tear duct).
- Excision of chalazia.
- Eye muscle surgery for strabismus.
- Pediatric cataract extraction including the use of intraocular lenses (IOLs).
Additional treatments/surgeries performed by some include retinal examination and laser treatment of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), surgical removal of pediatric orbital tumors/lesions, and surgery for glaucoma or ptosis (drooping eyelid) in the child.
- A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or corneal refractive surgery like LASIK.
- In cataract surgery, the lens inside your eye that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL) to restore clear vision.
- The procedure typically is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other care facility.
- Most modern cataract procedures involve the use of a high-frequency ultrasound device that breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces, which are then gently removed from the eye with suction.
- This procedure, called phacoemulsification or “phaco,” can be performed with smaller incisions than previous surgical techniques for cataract removal, promoting faster healing and reducing the risk of cataract surgery complications, such as a retinal detachment.
- After all remnants of the cloudy lens have been removed from your eye, the cataract surgeon inserts a clear intraocular lens, positioning it securely behind the iris and pupil, in the same location your natural lens occupied. (In special cases, an IOL might be placed in front of the iris and pupil, but this is less common.)
- The surgeon then completes the cataract removal and IOL implantation procedure by closing the incision in your eye (a stitch may or may not be needed), and a protective shield is placed over the eye to keep it safe in the early stages of your cataract surgery recovery.
Interesting Facts I Bet You Never Knew About Ophthamology continues in Part -2 – Click Here
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