Epi-LASIK is a type of vision correction surgery that was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2002. Traditional LASIK, or Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, gained FDA approval in 1998. However, European and American surgeons were using these types of technologies to correct farsightedness and nearsightedness back in the 1980s.
The sheer number of acronyms associated with cosmetic vision correction sounds daunting. The bottom line is that Epi-LASIK is an enhanced form of LASIK. Both types of surgery reshape the cornea of each eye. Generally, LASIK surgeons use a cutting tool to reshape the cornea. This cutting excludes people with thin corneas from safely having that type of surgery, because the cornea is needed to literally keep the eyeball’s shape. With Epi-LASIK, a soft brush tool does the reshaping and thus can work even on thin corneas.
Traditional LASIK is also a poor choice for people with a history of torn retinas or medically-necessary vision surgery. However, even these higher-risk patients can potentially gain 20/20 vision through the Wavelength Epi-LASIK technology. Getting care from a trained corneal specialist is key to having a successful vision correction experience regardless of past eye problems.
However, even the best eye surgeons in the world have seen rare but potentially life-altering complications. A minute number of people have gone blind after LASIK and some people see “halos” or have worse vision after Epi-LASIK or LASIK. While anywhere from 95 to 98 percent of vision correction patients are happy with their results, anyone considering elective surgery should not dismiss the possibility of being in the minority of patients who have serious complications. Glasses and contacts can be annoying and sometimes expensive, but eyeglasses especially do not carry a risk of serious complications.