LASIK (Laser Assisted in SItu Keratomileusis) is a surgical technique where a thin flap is created on the cornea using a specialized device called a microkeratome. The flap is folded back to expose the corneal stroma and then an excimer laser is used to reshape a small layer of tissue and enable better vision. Once complete, the flap is replaced back on the cornea.
PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) is a similar technique where the superficial corneal epithelium is loosened with alcohol and removed before applying the laser. EPI-LASIK is a new technique which involves creating an epithelium flap with an Epi-separator. Following PRK, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye for 3 days, whereafter it is removed.
With LASIK, a wide range of refractive errors can be corrected.
- In Myopia, or nearsightedness, the corneal curvature is changed by reducing its thickness more centrally. Up to –10.0 Diopters can be corrected.
- In Hypermetropia, or farsightedness, the corneal curvature is changed by reducing its thickness more peripherally. Up to + 6.0 Diopters can be corrected.
- Astigmatism, or irregular corneal curvature, up to 5.0 Diopters can be corrected.
- A combination of Myopia or Hypermetropia, with Astigmatism can be corrected.
With PRK, the following refractive errors can be corrected:
- In Myopia, or nearsightedness, up to –8.0 Diopters can be corrected.
- In Astigmatism, up to 5.0 Diopters can be corrected.
- A combination of Myopia, with Astigmatism can be corrected.
A minimum age of 18 years is required before Refractive surgery can be considered.
Before your surgery booking, you will be refracted, and a full eye examination performed.
Prior to your screening visit, the wear of soft contact lenses must be discontinued for 1 week, hard contact lenses for 3 weeks, and toric soft contact lenses for 10 days, as they alter the natural shape of the cornea.
Patients that qualify for LASIK must meet the following criteria:
- Minimum age of 18 Years
- Myopia of less than -10.0 Diopters (Spherical equivalent)
- Hypermetropia of less that + 5.0 Diopters
- Astigmatism of less than 5.0 Diopters
- Show refractive stability. A change of less than 1 Diopter in the previous 12 months is needed to qualify for
Corneal refractive surgery. Please bring your glasses or contact lenses to your examination to provide your
- Sufficient corneal thickness.
With Refractive surgery, patients have a 98% chance to be fully corrected with one procedure. About 2% of people will need a revision, or enhancement surgery. This involves re-lifting of the corneal flap following Lasik, or repeating the PRK procedure after 3 months, and applying some more laser to the stroma to correct the remaining refractive error.
Patients younger than 42 years of age, can expect to have equally good distant and near vision following LASIK or EPI-LASIK/PRK surgery.
Patients older than 45 years of age undergoing Corneal Refractive Surgery will be needing reading glasses, due to changes in the crystalline lens of the eye (called presbyopia). Their distance vision should be unaffected and stable.
Patients will be supplied with specific post-operative instructions and follow-up schedules.
Patients that undergo LASIK surgery can expect to be back at work and drive their car after 2 days.
Following PRK/Epi-Lasik, patients can expect to be back at work and drive their car after 7 days.
Specific Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be inserted into the eyes for approximately
2-4 weeks after surgery to prevent corneal infection, inflammation and haze.
You will be supplied with a complete list of possible side-effects and complications of LASIK and PRK/Epi-Lasik in the Treatment Agreement and Consent Form. Please ensure that you read it before signing the consent form.
Patients are not allowed to:
- Wear eye make-up for 2 weeks post-operatively.
Patients are not allowed to:
- Take part in contact sports
- Rub their eyes for 4 weeks post-operatively.
Having refractive surgery can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!