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Types of Laser Eye Surgery

Types of Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgeries are a common procedure conducted to help correct various vision problems. As the name suggests, they use lasers to reshape the corneas of the eye to improve deficiencies in our eyesights. Laser eye surgeries can be used to fix issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.


Learn More: 4 Things to Ask your Doctor Before Any Eye Surgery


There are different ways to utilise lasers to treat vision problems. Each method comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. To help patients understand more about the types of laser eye surgeries and give them the information they need to make a decision, here’s a short guide on the most common laser eye procedures.


LASIK surgery in Singapore is one of the most popular procedures to correct vision problems. It can be used to solve refractive vision problems and allows patients to see near and far objects clearly without the use of glasses or contact lenses.


In patients with conditions like myopia or hyperopia, anomalies in the shape of the eyeball or cornea are responsible for causing refractive errors in their vision. Light rays that enter their eyes might not be precisely focused onto the retina due to such anomalies. This means objects at certain distances might not look sharp and therefore corrective lenses are needed to refocus the light.


During the LASIK procedure, a cutting laser or a small blade is used to cut away a small flap at the front of your eyes. This allows access to the cornea. A second laser is then used to reshape the cornea to fix any refractive vision problems you might be experiencing. 


LASIK in Singapore is a highly effective procedure that can correct a number of refractive errors. The negatives of LASIK are usually due to side effects that can include dry eyes, itching, and burning. These side effects usually go away in a few months after the initial healing process. LASIK procedures also structurally weaken the cornea. This generally does not affect everyday life but can be a concern in some occupations.


An alternative to LASIK is the ReLEx SMILE procedure. ReLEx SMILE is a newer procedure which also fixes refractive vision problems while being less invasive than LASIK. During a ReLEx SMILE laser surgery, no flaps are needed to be cut to access the eye. Instead, it uses the creation and removal of a small piece of corneal tissue, known as the lenticule, to reshape how light passes through the cornea.


ReLEx SMILE requires a smaller incision than LASIK and recovery time is much faster. For patients with thinner corneas, ReLEx SMILE might be preferred as it leaves the outer layers of the cornea structurally intact. The risk of complications and side effects are also lower with ReLEx SMILE.


The limitations of ReLEx SMILE come from the fact that it cannot solve as many refractive vision problems as LASIK. ReLEx SMILE in Singapore cannot be used for patients with hyperopia or presbyopia.

3. Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

PRK is an older laser eye surgical procedure as compared to LASIK and ReLEx SMILE. Similar to LASIK, it reshapes the cornea using a focused laser beam. However the laser is used on the surface of the cornea instead of under the flap as is the case for LASIK. Therefore the corneal flap is not required and this procedure does not damage your cornea to the same extent.


There is more pain and a longer recovery time is required for PRK as compared to LASIK. It can take one to four weeks for clear vision after a PRK. The quality of long-term vision for both LASIK and PRK is generally similar. For patients who are pilots or athletes, PRK might be the better procedure as it comes without the risks of the corneal flap moving during their respective activities.


All three of these laser eye surgeries are considered relatively safe and the incidence of complications are extremely low. Which procedure you pick will depend on factors that include your lifestyle, type of vision correction required, physical health and condition, thickness of cornea, budget, and preferred recovery time. If you have any questions or concerns, you should talk with your Ophthalmologist about the different procedures and which is best suited for you.

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