Refractive errors such as Astigmatism, Farsightedness (hyperopia), Nearsightedness (myopia) and Presbyopia are treated with the help of refractive surgery. It is a method to correct or improve the vision. Refractive surgery reshapes cornea and clear it. It may also implant a lens in the effected eye. LASIK (Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is widely used procedure for refractive surgery. Another way to perform refractive surgery is through surface laser.
Surface laser is also known as ASL, PRK, Nu-LASIK, LASEK, and Epi- LASIK. If the patient’s cornea is irregular, unstable or thin, LASIK is not suitable. The patient is most likely to be treated with surface laser.
Surface laser procedure skips many steps used in ordinary refractive surgeries. It uses femtosecond laser which actually throws lasers on the cornea. Basic difference in the surface laser procedure and LASIK is the recovery time. Recovery time is longer for surface laser procedure than for LASIK. A patient who has surface layer surgery for his eye may take 4 days and in some cases more than 4 days to achieve his usual vision. Even after the surgery eyes feel gritty and sore for some days.
Some people misguidedly think surface laser procedure as PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy). In fact PRK is the first laser refractive surgery; it was developed in 1987. The use of PRK lessened with the out break of LASIK since in mid 1990’s LASIK became more prominent. PRK does not offer the creation of corneal flaps. Surface laser offers creation of corneal flaps and many other advance options which PRK and LASIK do not offer. Surface laser has surpassed both PRK and LASIK in advancement. To get excellent results constantly Vision Eye Institute recommends surface laser procedure to all surgeons.
Though Surface laser procedure is highly useful but we cannot ignore the risky factors which are always present whenever this procedure is used. Though most of the people who have undergone surface laser procedure are satisfied but we have to recognize the problems with this procedure.
These days almost 75 per cent of the patients get 20/20 or even better distance vision. More than 95 per cent get no less than 20/40. But the point is even a 20/20 out come does not guarantee perfect vision in real life settings. The patient is at risk to develop problems with night vision or to problems to distinguish between shades of colors. Beside of such problems, another major problem is dryness and burning of eye after treatment. The situation improves usually in months but in some cases (as much as up to 20 per cent cases) it does not improve at all; the discomfort of the eye becomes the life long. Other likely troubles take in the growth of a fresh astigmatism and it may need another surgery or glasses.
Surface laser is a new procedure and still needs a lot of research work by doctors to overcome its deficiencies. For the time being the patients who plan to undergo surface laser surgery must consider its risks.