If you have been told that you are not a candidate for LASIK, you may be able to benefit from another type of laser eye surgery called Epi-LASIK. The information on this page can help you learn about the steps, benefits, and complications associated with this procedure.
What is Epi-LASIK?
Epi-LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure designed to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK eye surgery, Epi-LASIK does not require the creation of a corneal flap. As a result, people with thin corneas or other conditions that could contribute to LASIK complications may be well-suited for the Epi-LASIK procedure; they may also be good candidates for PRK surgery or the placement of implantable contact lenses.
The cost of Epi-LASIK surgery is typically similar to the cost of LASIK surgery. If you undergo traditional Epi-LASIK surgery, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per eye. If you undergo custom Epi-LASIK surgery (which involves the use of wavefront mapping technology), you can expect the price to range from about $1,500 to $2,000 per eye.
Epi-LASIK Laser Eye Surgery
As in other laser eye surgery procedures, Epi-LASIK begins with the use of anesthetic eye drops to numb the eyes. An instrument called an epikeratome is then used to isolate a thin layer of tissue in the epithelium (the outer layer of the cornea). The epithelial sheet is moved aside and an excimer laser is used to carefully reshape the cornea. Once laser treatment is complete, the epithelial sheet is gently replaced and allowed to adhere with the aid of a special contact lens.
Following Epi-LASIK, patients usually experience improvements in their vision around the third or fourth day, with most patients being able to drive in about a week. Vision may continue to improve for a period of up to several months. While the recovery time following Epi-LASIK is somewhat longer than with LASIK, the procedure may produce fewer flap complications because it does not penetrate the cornea.
As with all surgical procedures, Epi-LASIK carries with it the potential for certain complications. Although rare, the following risks have been associated with the procedure:
- Under- or over correction
- Flap complications
- Glare, halos, and starbursts
Epi-LASIK complications occur only in a small number of patients and most can be corrected with a follow-up procedure.
As a means of laser eye surgery, Epi-LASIK offers many advantages. The following benefits have been reported in association with the procedure:
- Able to treat patients with thinner corneas
- Reduced incidence of flap complications
- Lower rate of dry eye syndrome
Find a Laser Eye Surgery Provider Who Performs Epi-LASIK
If you would like to contact a laser eye surgery provider for more information about Epi-LASIK, including its benefits and complications, find a LASIK surgeon in your area.
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