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How do I Choose the Best Eye Laser Surgery?

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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Eye laser surgery is a process that corrects vision impairments due to near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. This surgery has grown in popularity and is ideal for people who would rather not have to wear glasses and contacts. There are four main types of eye laser surgery to choose from: Lasik, Lasek, Epi-Lasik and PRK. Each type is relatively similar, but there are a few differences. Choosing the best option usually depends on the individual's optical needs and his optometrist's recommendations.

Lasik, short for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, tends to be the most popular and well known type of eye laser surgery. Many people actually mistake all types of eye surgery for Lasik surgery due to the term's popularity. This surgery can be used to effectively fix all three types of visual impairments by cutting a flap off part of the cornea and then replacing it. This is done with the help of a computer-controlled laser that the surgeon uses to guide the process. Lasik has a relatively quick recovery period of approximately one week and is one of the more affordable options.

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Laser epithelial keratomileusis, or Lasek surgery, is somewhat like regular Lasik surgery, but uses a slightly different process. The main difference is that less corneal tissue is removed from the eye than with Lasik. Also, a sharp blade is initially used to remove the tissue and then a laser finishes the job. This is often the best option for people with thin corneas or for people with only minor vision impairments. The recovery process takes around two weeks and the cost is slightly more than for Lasik.

Epithelial laser in-situ keratomileusis, or Epi-Lasik surgery, is almost the same as Lasek, but is a newer version. The fundamental difference is that it uses a dull blade instead of a sharp one to remove corneal tissue, and is also a good option for people with thin corneas. The Epi-Lasik healing process is one of the fastest at around three to four days and it costs roughly the same as Lasek.

Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) eye laser surgery is one of the older options that has decreased in popularity, but is still available. The basic difference in PRK surgery is that the corneal tissue is removed by a laser, but is never replaced. Instead, the eye is simply reshaped in order to provide better vision. The downside of this eye surgery is that it usually takes a few months for the entire healing process to occur. The cost is about the same as for Lasek and Epi-Lasik surgeries.

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