Are all laser eye surgeries the same? Or is their truly a superior one out there? If you want to know which laser eye surgery is the best then consider reading this whole article. There is some information about Best Laser Eye Surgery.
If you are reading thus far then I guess you are someone who is considering the surgery. By now, you must know that there are different procedures related to laser eye surgery.
Whenever there is a talk about this surgery, there always comes up three common names. LASIK, LASEK, and PRK are considered the three most common laser eye surgeries available.
In this article, we will explain in detail these three surgeries and make it easier for you to decide which one is better.
Ohh! I almost forgot! There is another procedure in addition to these three. Read along if you want to find out that secret.
LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileuses):
LASIK is without a doubt the most known among the laser eye treatments. It is one of the safest surgeries out there. But this is the case with pretty much all the laser eye surgeries. But still, it remains most common and popular among the people considering laser eye treatment.
LASIK is known for its safety. It is also, like other laser eye surgeries, done in a quick time. It takes only about 10-15 minutes to complete the surgery.
Just before the surgery, you will be given anesthetic eye drops. It will make your eyes numb and you will not feel any pain. That is another plus point, no real pain for the patient to suffer from.
The surgeon’s next step will be to create a flap. This is what differentiates LASIK from the others. This flap is created with the first of two lasers used in this surgery, the femtosecond laser. With the help of this laser, the flap is created and then it is lifted. With the flap lifted, the surgeon now will have access to the corneal tissues.
The second laser, a form of ultraviolet laser, is used to remove the required amount of corneal tissue. And so it allows and helps to reshape the cornea. This second laser is called excimer laser. It is also referred to as an exciplex laser.
No LASIK for You
You or any other person cannot undergo the LASIK treatment for the following reasons.
• The cornea is too thin. Remember how a flap is created during LASIK? Well, if the cornea is too thin then it becomes risky to create the flap. That is why you need to have a certain requirement considering the thickness of the cornea. Or else, no LASIK for you.
• Irregular corneas are another reason that makes surgeons refuse to do LASIK. The cornea could be irregularly shaped for common eye defects like astigmatism.
- Comfortable. There is hardly any pain at all with the surgery. It is as smooth as they come.
- The success rate is unbelievable. It is so frequently conducted all over the world and still remains one of the safest.
- Recovery time is short and recovering is easy.
o Dry eye has been an issue that comes as a side effect. There have been too many patients suffering from dry eyes.
o The worst-case scenario is a loss of your “best vision”. While wearing glasses or contact lenses, the highest degree of vision that you achieved is your best vision. This is a very rare issue, but the possibility cannot be thrown out the window.
It is rather a complex surgery because of the use of two lasers. This increases the chance of flap-related complications.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy):
Available since the 1960s, PRK… oh sorry, not the 1960s! Available since the 1980s, PRK is the very first laser eye treatment that graced humanity. It is also a surgery with minimum risks.
Best Laser eye surgery Procedure
During the procedure of PRK, the surgeon will use a manual instrument to remove the thin epithelium layer of the cornea. This is done so that easy access is gained to the deeper corneal tissues. The removed part generally grows back after a few days of the surgery.
Then like LASIK, an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. As the epithelium was removed, a bandage type contact is given to the patients to protect the eyes. Within 4-5 days of the surgery, this bandage is removed by the doctor.
No PRK for You
The following points, if you have, will prevent you from having PRK.
• If there are any symptoms of the dry eye then the surgeon will most probably not allow you to go through PRK.
• Measurement of the thickness of your cornea will be taken prior to the surgery. If the measurements do not match up the requirement then you are not going to have the surgery.
- Unlike LASIK, you can have PRK surgery even if you have a very thin cornea.
- PRK cures myopia/nearsightedness better than most other. (Myopia is the defect in the eyes that makes distant object blurry).
- The results are just as good as the popular LASIK.
o There is an issue of discomfort because of the removal of the tissue with the manual instrument.
o Generally, the recovery time is more than the other laser eye surgeries.
As there will be no epithelium in the first week or so after the surgery, eye irritation and watering could trouble the patient.
LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis):
LASEK is said to be a combination of the other laser eye surgeries. It is used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
It is the closest to PRK. First, anesthetic eye drops will be applied for your comfort. And then exactly like PRK, the thin corneal epithelium layer is separated. But the difference is that it is not completely removed like PRK.
Then excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea and finish the surgery. After that, the epithelium layer is placed back into its original position.
• Corneal disease, keratoconus, etc. are reasons why your doctor will send you home and refuse to do the surgery.
• Eye prescriptions should be under some certain limitations.
- There is no flap created like LASIK. So, less discomfort from that point of view.
- No need for any extra contact bandage as the epithelium is put back in its place.
- Chances of dry eye as a side effect are reduced by a great amount.
- Simpler than most other laser eye surgeries.
o Recovery time is more. Most LASIK patients often have a good vision the very next day of the surgery. This is not the case with LASEK.
o It is thought that LASEK has not reached its full potential yet. That is why it remains in LASIK’s shadow.
Going for any kind of laser eye surgery requires for you to be eligible first.
There is a huge debate on the minimum age that is required. In general, it is said that you have to be at least 18. But many surgeons do not agree with it and say that the age required should be 21.
There is a good reason for setting an age requirement. From childhood up until age 18, the human eyes continue to undergo constant changes. It remains in the development process. The eyes are never stable at that kind of age.
But for the laser eye surgery, it is a must to have a stable prescription. The experts differ on when our eyes actually start to become stable.
You will also not be eligible for the surgery if you have any major health issues even if they are not related to your eyes. If you are a woman and you are pregnant or in the nursing stage then laser eye surgery is out of the question for you. If you do undergo eye surgery during such states then you will only create a great risk for your own health and life.
The eye should be in a good state. Infection and other eye problems are going to prevent you from having the surgery. The state of your eye will be checked before anything to make sure if you are eligible or not.
Of course, remember that the cost varies a lot depending on your location and so many other factors. Before we give you an estimated cost, it is better to understand some factors that affect the cost.
1) Location: Depending on your location, the cost will vary a great deal. If you are living in a rural area then the cost will reduce much. But in an urban area, the cost typically increases a lot.
2) Surgeon’s fee: The fee of the surgeon will take a lot of the total amount. How much you are going to have to pay the surgeon also depends on which surgeon you choose. The more the experienced the more you are likely going to have to pay.
3) Hospital or Clinics: The total cost also depends on the hospital or clinic you choose. Generally, clinics will cost less as they will most likely provide less service than any hospital.
4) Tests and prescriptions: After the surgery, there will be prescriptions for medication. Even before the surgery, you might have to buy drugs that will add to the total cost. Also, the medical tests that are going to be performed on you will add to your expense.
5) After the surgery, you are going to have to visit your doctor. Although there are doctors who will not charge for those visits, there are still some who will. So it is better to keep a budget for this too.
Cost for LASIK: The cost of LASIK surgery could start from $1300 up to $3500.
Cost for PRK: The cost of PRK surgery could start from $1000 up to $2350.
LASEK Cost: Cost of LASEK surgery could start from $1150 up to $3000
Keep in mind that these are only estimated amounts. It does not necessarily mean that these will be the exact prices in your area. But you can expect a price around these mentioned prices. And I recommend that you do not care about money. You do not want to jeopardize your eyes by going to a cheap clinic just to save some money, right?
This is by no means your least concern. You are about to trust somebody with your precious eyes. You need to make sure that person is qualified and deserves your full trust.
The first thing you can do is to check the surgeon’s qualifications. You can make judgment looking at his qualifications with the registering board. Also, another thing that you need to see is how many surgeries they perform. They should perform more than 100 procedures in a year. This will confirm their experience.
Even though laser eye surgery poses no real threat normally, it is still recommended that you avoid those kinds of surgeons who are in the learning phase. You need to go to an experienced veteran.
There are some requirements that need to be fulfilled to become a laser eye surgeon officially. You need to check if your surgeon has those requirements fulfilled.
It will be best if you can choose a surgeon that has done many similar kinds of a procedure before. So, it depends on whichever laser eye surgery you choose, your surgeon should have done that particular surgery many a time before.
Do not shy away from asking any questions. Ask any questions that come to your mind. You need to fully trust the person who is going to have control over your eyes. The more you can trust, the more courage you will gather to face the surgery.
Time for the Secret!
We have already discussed the three main laser eye surgeries. But like I said at the start, there is another type of laser eye surgery. That secret procedure is SMILE. SMILE stands for small incision lenticule extraction.
The procedure for this laser eye surgery is simple. The surgeon uses a femtosecond laser. It is used to create a lens-shaped tissue within the cornea. Then using the same laser, an incision is made in the surface of the cornea. The incision is made so that the lenticular can be extracted through it. After extracting, it is then discarded. With the lenticular removed, the reshaping of the cornea is done. And so nearsightedness is corrected in this manner.
The Plus points
It is a lot of simpler surgery than LASIK. And also, it is much less invasive than all other laser eye surgeries. PRK requires to totally remove the epithelium of the cornea, LASIK creates a flap which is invasive in its own way. But in SMILE, the incision is made so small that it causes almost no disturbance to the corneal nerves.
The chances of having dry eyes are reduced a great deal. With LASIK, dry eyes are almost a must side effect. During LASIK, the creation of the corneal flap disturbs the corneal nerves a bit too much. That is why dry eyes are common in patients of that procedure. But with a SMILE, the procedure does not disturb the corneal nerves that much at all. And so the results speak for themselves.
SMILE is a great alternative to LASIK. Sometimes irregular shaped cornea or thin cornea prevents a patient from undergoing LASIK surgery. But this is not a problem for having a SMILE. Even with a thin cornea, you can correct your nearsightedness using this procedure.
The same safety is there with SMILE too. Like others, it is also a safe procedure. But it provides more simplicity during the surgery and much less chance of side effect after the surgery.
ONLY ONE DEFECT
There is only one downside with SMILE that needs mentioning. And it is the fact that it has only been a recent discovery. And it is still developing and has not reached maximum potential. For this reason, SMILE only offers to correct nearsightedness defect. As for astigmatism or farsightedness, it is not there yet.
Which One is the Best?
Well, the foundation has been laid. Now you know all the information about the top laser eye surgeries available. So, you decide, depending on your own situation, which will be the best for you.
But there is no doubt that SMILE is best if you are trying to correct nearsightedness problem. Then as for astigmatism and farsightedness, you can really go with anyone. But the popular candidate is LASIK.
Whichever you choose, all laser eye surgeries are safe. So, keep cool and consult with your doctor well. And then decide which is best for you after assessing all the issues we discussed in this article.