Learn About Different Types Of Refractive Surgery

Learning about refractive surgery can be a long and gruelling task.

First, you’ve to find the time in your day to sit down without the distractions of kids or pets or—let’s face it—more fun things you could be doing.

Then you’re faced with sifting through endless mounds of information, statistics, opinions, and tabloids, most of which are produced to shock or sell.

Even when you manage to find a reliable source of information, it’s easy to get confused or feel overwhelmed by the various treatments and medical language surrounding refractive surgery.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here at London Vision Clinic, we’ve provided an unbiased and balanced perspective on all areas relating to refractive surgery over the past 15 years—largely thanks to the unique experience and expertise of our founder, Professor Dan Reinstein, and expert surgeon Mr Glenn Carp, and of course our dedicated team of eyecare professionals.

So when it comes to refractive surgery, rest assured, we know our stuff.

At our clinic on Harley Street, we offer the three most effective and most popular types of refractive surgery: PRK/LASEK, LASIK, and ReLEx SMILE.

The Crowd Favourite

Let’s kick things off with LASIK—the most commonly performed refractive procedure in the world.

After its inception in 1987, LASIK quickly gained popularity for its reduced discomfort and recovery time over previous forms of refractive surgery.

The surgeon creates an ultra-thin flap in the outer cornea (epithelium) during the procedure before folding it back and treating the exposed area.

Using this method, surgeons can treat a range of refractive errors including short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and at some clinics, even the need for reading glasses (presbyopia).

Due to its effectiveness, over 90% of our patients are suitable for LASIK, and can be in and out of the procedure within 15 minutes, and enjoying their new vision almost instantaneously.

The Old Faithful

Before the introduction of LASIK, the most common methods of laser vision correction were known as ‘surface procedures’.  These surfaces procedures are PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), LASEK (laser sub-epithelial keratomileusis), and Epi-LASIK (epithelial laser in-situ keratomileusis).

In this method of refractive surgery, rather than operating through a small flap-like in LASIK, the epithelium is removed entirely to expose the area to be treated.

This is easier to achieve from a technical standpoint, but there is, unfortunately, an extended period of recovery from the patient’s perspective. Following a surface procedure, you can expect your eyes to heal and your vision to stabilise in around 5-7 days. The end results are exactly the same as in other procedures.

So why are surfaces procedures recommended for some people but not others?

At our clinic, a tiny percentage of patients have PRK (LASEK). For most patients, this is due to having pre-existing scars or surface irregularities which PRK would be more practical in treating.

Learn more about PRK/LASEK.

The Rising Star

The ReLEx SMILE procedure represents a new generation in refractive surgery.

Unlike surface procedures or LASIK, the process does not involve removing the outer cornea (epithelium) or creating a flap.

ReLEx SMILE, or SMILE—Small Incision Lenticule Extraction—uses the state of the art Visumax laser to make a keyhole incision in the epithelium and treat the area underneath.

The significant advantage is the treatment is reduced down to only a few minutes and can offer a solution for those who’ve previously been turned down from having Laser Eye Surgery due to thin corneas or dry eyes.

Read more about ReLEx SMILE.

If you would like to book a consultation at London Vision Clinic, or find out more about the cost of our treatments, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.