The Advent of LASIK
It can said that modern laser vision correction began with the advent of LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis. Around the mid-nineties, it was discovered that by cutting open a flap in the cornea, the initial discomfort and slower visual recovery of early PRK could be avoided. At around the same time, newer and better lasers were introduced, with advanced features like multi-directional eye trackers, small and fast spot beam lasers and wavefront measuring machines that allow customised eye treatments. And so, LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis (also known as the cut, flap and zap method of laser vision correction) was born and it quickly grew in popularity to become the household word it is today.
THE ADVENT OF ASA (ADVANCED SURFACE ABLATION) – BACK TO THE SURFACE!
While LASIK still remains today as the de facto standard for laser vision correction, eye doctors discovered that even though post-op recovery was speedy with LASIK, creating the cornea flap brought about problems of cornea weakening and flap complications, which are not present before in its PRK predecessors. Those with thin corneas and/or high refractive powers also could not be suitable for LASIK as are those who suffer from dry eyes. Furthermore, those who participate in active contact sports and military activities are also not very suitable candidates for LASIK due to the higher risk of flap dislodgement complications.
To address these shortcomings, eye doctors recently began to re-look at where it all started, at the cornea surface! With advances in treat- ment medications, the easy availability of high oxygen permeability bandage contact lenses and better, faster and more accurate lasers, Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) was born, with the most modern one being epi-LASIK – the flapless, bladeless surface-based laser vision correction procedure that evolved from its PRK and LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis) predecessors. It was found that epi-LASIK is a relatively painless procedure and was able to eliminate all flap-related complications. I did the first epi-LASIK procedure in Singapore in December 2004.
THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
The latest laser vision correction technique – Refractive Lenticule Extraction, Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (ReLEx SMILE) – has just been freshly introduced into the private healthcare sector this year. It is also a flapless, bladeless procedure but not surface-based. As the procedure is still fairly new, it has yet to achieve the credibility that comes with numbers and long-term complications remain unknown.
Another vision corrective method, one that does not involve the laser is the Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL). However as it is a relatively invasive procedure, it is best reserved for patients who are not suitable for laser vision correction such as those with very high myopia powers (that is myopia of more than 1,300 degrees).
Today with so many laser vision correction clinics offering so many different options, it is easy to get confused. But when you boil it down, there are actually only four major options to choose from! How do they work and which procedure should I choose to go for? Go on to find your answers in the next few pages, it will provide you with a quick and easy guide for you to learn all about these four main vision corrective procedures.
Too many choices to choose from?Today with so many laser vision correction clinics offering so many different options, it is easy to get confused. But when you boil it down, there are actually only four major options to choose from! How do they work and which procedure should I choose to go for?
We have provided you with a quick and easy guide for you to learn all about these four main vision corrective procedures.