Epi-LASIK, (Epithelial Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) is an advanced type of corneal surface ablation to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Like the other Laser Eye Surgery surface ablation procedures such as PRK and LASEK, it attempts to merge the desirable features of LASIK, PRK and LASEK.
In this procedure, a specially designed microkeratome like instrument is used to create a thin flap of corneal epithelium. It achieves this by gently separating the epithelium from the underlying corneal layer without cutting. In Epi LASIK, no alcohol solution is applied to loosen and remove the surface of the epithelium as in LASEK.
Epi-LASIK is similar to LASEK in that it is a LASIK Eye Surgery procedure that can be used for patients who have thin corneas and might not otherwise be good candidates for ordinary LASIK. Once the epithelial layer has been removed, the Excimer Laser is then applied and reshapes the cornea to correct your prescription, as in LASIK, PRK and LASIK. Upon completion of the Excimer Laser application, the epithelial flap is then returned to its original position.
Epi-LASIK has a relative advantage in that it avoids any of the potential complications encountered while making a conventional LASIK flap and during the flap healing process. Compared to LASEK and PRK it is believed that Epi-LASIK can allow a more rapid visual recovery, perhaps 3-4 days versus a 7 days or more with PRK and 5-7 days with LASEK.