Laser Eye Surgery: ReLEx SMILE vs LASIK vs PRK
The three main types of modern Laser Eye Surgery are PRK, LASIK and ReLEx SMILE. All three treatments are quite similar, in that they’re all performed on the cornea; however, there are several important differences.
ReLEx (refractive lenticule extraction) SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction)
ReLEx SMILE is the latest generation of Laser Eye Surgery, co-invented by Prof Reinstein, here at London Vision Clinic.
The procedure — known as SMILE for short – is totally ‘flap-less’, and involves a tiny keyhole incision being made in the cornea. The surgeon is able to remove a precise amount of tissue through this incision.
Because there are no moving parts, the healing time for SMILE is even quicker than that of conventional LASIK, the common temporary side effects of Laser Eye Surgery (including dry eye and night vision disturbance) are minimised, and the procedure is suitable for even those patients with very high prescriptions, drier eyes, and thinner corneas.
LASIK Laser Eye Surgery
Properly termed Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, LASIK is by far the most common Laser Eye Surgery procedure.
The key difference between LASIK and PRK & LASEK is that, instead of removing the surface layer of the eye, a ultra-thin flap is created to allow the laser treatment to be applied, after which the flap is simply replaced.
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By returning the flap to its original position in this way, it’s only the edge of the flap which needs to heal. The recovery time is, therefore, a fraction of the recovery time from PRK or LASEK — the vast majority of LASIK patients are ready to go back to work within 24 hours of having Laser Eye Surgery.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy)
In PRK Laser Eye Surgery, the surface layer of the eye is removed (this is the epithelium, which is naturally replaced by the eye every 7-14 days).
The more permanent layer beneath the epithelium is then reshaped, correctly readjusting the vision. A contact lens is then applied as a bandage, allowing the surface layer to heal naturally.
In LASEK Laser Eye Surgery, similar to PRK, the surface layer of the eye is removed. Instead of discarding the layer as with PRK, the layer is moved aside. The laser eye treatment is then carried out in the same way, before the retained surface layer is draped back over the eye. A contact lens bandage is then applied to allow the eye to heal.
To find out if you are suitable for PRK, LASIK or ReLEx SMILE Laser Eye Surgery, leaves us a comment or chat with a member of our friendly team.