Laser eye surgery is now a very popular procedure in the UK with well in excess of 100,000 patients receiving treatment each year.
The number of people benefitting from this surgery continues to grow and with it, so do the various options and advances in techniques that people can take advantage of.
You can find a clinic near you at Laser Eye Surgery Hub, once you have an understanding of what is involved and how laser surgery might help your vision.
Laser eye surgery can help you achieve 20/20 vision and resolve issues such as cataracts, so that you are free to enjoy everyday activities with improved eyesight.
There are several types of laser eye surgery available and these are:
LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis)
This is the most common type of refractive laser eye surgery and it is designed to reshape the transparent dome-shaped structure at the front of your eye, which is known as the cornea. The LASIK method involves creating a thin hinged flap on the superficial layer of the cornea and then folded back.
The exposed surface of the cornea is then subsequently reshaped using the laser, in order to correctly focus light rays to the back of the eye, which are then correctly focused on your retina. This is the layer of tissue that is located at the back of your eye and is responsible for your vision, so correcting this will produce the improved vision you are seeking.
PRK Photorefractive keratectomy
This was a pioneering method in laser eye surgery that is not performed as often as other methods these days. PRK is designed to remove only the thin surface layer of the cornea and then the surgeon uses a laser in order to either flatten the cornea or make its curve steeper, whichever is required.
LASEK Laser epithelial keratomileusis
This is the method used if your surgeon decides that you have a thin cornea and he does not want to disturb the deeper structures of the cornea as result of this. Another consideration for using LASEK surgery is that if you have an occupation or play a sport where potential trauma to the eye could be possible, LASEK is less likely to cause serious damage to the eye.
Epi-LASEK Epithelial laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis
This procedure is similar to LASEK and involves the surgeon using a small mechanised blunt knife as a way of separating the epithelium from the eye.
Understanding the risks
There is no surgical procedure that doesn't come without some risks attached, although the large number of people having laser eye surgery around the globe offers some level of reassurance that the work is effective in the majority of cases.
You need to check the qualifications of your surgeon as not all high street operators have the same high level of credentials and experience. You also need to weigh up the risk of something like too much of the cornea being trimmed, which happens in only a very tiny fraction of cases.
Laser eye surgery is less invasive than some other procedures and it definitely does give you the opportunity to take charge of your eyesight once again.
By Carl Robinson
Carl is a longtime eyewear technician who also wears glasses. When he has the time, he likes to sit down and share some of the things he has learned over the years. Look for his posts on various health, eyecare and medical websites.