Top 5 Types of Laser Eye Surgery and What You Need to Know About Them

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Introduction to Laser Eye Surgery

While no surgical procedure is 100% effective, laser eye surgery is arguably the most effective type of eye surgery available today for eye conditions linked to refractive errors i.e., long-sightedness, short-sightedness, astigmatism, etc.

Success rates for the top types of laser eye surgery are above 95%, with a few of the procedures having a higher success rate than others1. Let’s delve into the top 5 types of laser eye surgery in Toronto today and the most important information about each type i.e., main benefits, risks, success rates, visual recovery, etc. 

1. LASIK

What is LASIK?

LASIK (or Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) is laser surgery that reshapes the cornea and corrects refractive errors. The procedure is used to treat myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism (curvature imperfections of the cornea or lens). However, it is best suited for myopia treatment.

How is LASIK Done?

The procedure involves numbing the eye (usually with eye drops) before a thin flap of corneal tissue is created using a laser. The flap is then lifted, and a computer-guided laser beam reshapes the cornea. After reshaping, the corneal flap is placed back and allowed to heal.

What is the Success Rate for LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

Studies suggest that 98% of patients who undergo LASIK eye surgery have their refractive errors sorted2. However, risks associated with the surgery can’t be overlooked.

LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Benefits and Risks

1. Top Benefits of LASIK

The top reasons to have LASIK include:

  • Surgery is quick. Takes a few minutes per eye
  • Effective in treating refractive errors like myopia
  • Freedom from glasses and contact lenses
  • Recovery is quick.

2. Top Risks of LASIK

The main cons of LASIK are:

  • LASIK isn’t effective for treating all refractive errors. As mentioned, the laser treatment is recommendable largely for myopia treatment.
  • LASIK also comes with some complications. Since it’s an invasive laser eye treatment (which involves cutting the cornea), complete healing isn’t guaranteed. Flap-related complications include an increased risk of eye infection, tearing and/or abnormal growth under the flap. In extreme cases, vision loss is a possibility.
  • Patients experience side effects like dry eyes, glare, headaches and double vision after treatment.

LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Candidates. Who Should Seek LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK is more suitable for people with myopia. What’s more, since it’s a flap procedure that comes with risk of flap complications, it isn’t suitable for people who engage in activities that increase their risks of eye pressure or suffering impact on their eyes i.e., firefighters and athletes. Studies also suggest LASIK is better for younger patients as older ones tend to take more time to heal3

LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Recovery

Flap-related eye procedures rarely heal completely. Fragile adherence is common even months after surgery (sometimes years).

2. NO-CUT Laser Eye Surgery

What is NO-CUT Eye Surgery?

As the name suggests, NO-CUT doesn’t involve laser cuts or blades to the cornea. It’s a safe non-invasive laser eye surgery method, which is a perfect alternative to LASIK. The surgery utilizes a specialized laser to correct refractive errors. Besides being safer, it is a cheaper and more effective alternative for a variety of refractive errors and not just myopia, as is the case with LASIK.

What Is the Success Rate of this Laser Eye Surgery?

Since it is a non-invasive no-flap laser eye surgery, the risks/complications and other issues related to LASIK are eliminated. NO-CUT has a higher success rate (over 99%). Almost all patients who undergo the surgery recommend it.

NO-CUT Laser Eye Surgery Benefits and Risks

The top reasons to choose NO-CUT refractive surgery include:

  • It’s very safe and effective with near-zero complications or negative side effects, unlike LASIK
  • NO-CUT is more affordable. Besides being safer and more effective than LASIK, NO-CUT’s price is lower. You can click here to compare the Cost of Laser eye surgery – LASIK vs NO-CUT cost.
  • NO-CUT is ideal for everyone. The surgery is perfect for anyone with any refractive error, including myopia, presbyopia, astigmatism & farsightedness. 
  • No-Cut is also ideal for all ages (young adults aged 18 years and above to seniors). The procedure works for people with flat/thinner corneas, unlike LASIK and other conventional laser vision correction surgeries. NO-CUT is also great for individuals like athletes who play contact sports.
  • Guaranteed complete healing process. Unlike LASIK, NO-CUT patients recover completely.

Provided you seek NO-CUT refractive laser surgery treatment from leading vision centres in Toronto like Goldberg Centre, you can be assured of a risk-free process with additional benefits like FREE NO-CUT laser eye surgery consultation and treatment discounts (i.e., 15% off on laser vision correction)

NO-CUT Laser Eye Surgery Candidates

Anyone aged 18 and above with a variety of refractive errors mentioned above is an ideal NO-CUT laser surgery candidate. This also applies to people with flat/thinner corneas who aren’t suitable candidates for LASIK.

NO-CUT Laser Eye Surgery Recovery

Since NO-CUT is a non-invasive no-flap procedure, patients recover fully.

3. TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery

What is TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery?

TransPRK (transepithelial photoreactive keratectomy) is among the latest types of laser eye surgery available today. It stands out for being a one-step, “no-touch” procedure. It is superior to PRK laser eye surgery (discussed below).7 While the two types of laser eye surgery treat near-sightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness, there are notable differences.

Unlike PRK and LASIK, TransPRK isn’t invasive. It doesn’t involve creating a corneal flap or cutting into the eye as with LASIK, PRK, and other conventional types of laser eye surgery. Instead, the procedure involves a laser that removes the epithelium and corrects the vision in one step. This gives the procedure notable benefits among them being faster healing and better results. 

How is TransPRK Done?

The procedure uses a highly precise excimer laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue and correct refractive defects without making a corneal flap.

What’s the Success Rate of TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery? 

Studies suggest that over 98% of patients who undergo TransPRK surgery achieve good vision8. Most importantly, this is minus the side effects of flap-related procedures like LASIK.

TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery Benefits and Risks 

i. Top Benefits of TransPRK Eye Surgery

There are many reasons to seek TransPRK laser eye surgery over most laser eye surgery types. The most notable include:

  • Non-invasive surgery. No-flap procedure: Trans PRK doesn’t involve making corneal flaps, which compromise the structural integrity of the cornea and take forever to heal. In fact, flap procedures hardly ever heal.
  • Highly effective and fast healing: TransPRK offers stable long-term results, with most, if not all, patients enjoying improved vision long-term without the need for further correction. This procedure offers a faster healing process than LASIK, PRK, and all other conventional laser eye surgeries.
  • Minimal to no risk of complications: The risk of infections, epithelial ingrowths, and other flap-related procedure risks is close to zero.
  • Versatile surgery: TransPRK can treat a variety of refractive errors. The surgery can also be tailored perfectly to match a patient’s requirements.

ii. Top Risks of TransPRK Eye Surgery

TransPRK is extremely safe with hardly any cases of side effects. However, some blurriness may be experienced for a couple of days after the procedure while your epithelium grows back.

TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery Candidates. Who Is the Ideal Candidate for TransPRK?

The surgery is perfect for persons who aren’t ideal candidates for LASIK, among other flap procedures i.e., persons with thin corneas. The surgery is also recommendable for those who lead busy, active lifestyles since it eliminates flap-related complications and comes with a quicker recovery time. 

TransPRK Laser Eye Surgery Recovery 

As mentioned, the healing time for TransPRK is faster than LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and all other invasive laser eye surgery procedures. Provided you follow post-operative instructions to the letter (i.e., don’t rub your eyes, use provided eye drops, protect your eyes, etc), recovery takes a few days as opposed to weeks. 

4. PRK

What is PRK?

PRK (or photorefractive keratectomy) is a traditional type of laser eye surgery that has been around for a while. Like LASIK, PRK refractive surgery is considered invasive. It involves the removal of the cornea (topmost surface layer – epithelium). A very precise laser (excimer laser) is then used to reshape deeper corneal tissue, fixing refractive errors or irregular curvature4.

Following the surgery, a contact lens “bandage” is usually placed on the eye to help the underlying tissue heal. The bandage may cause irritation as the epithelium heals. Patients can expect blurred vision until the bandage is removed (after approximately one week).

What Is the Success Rate of PRK Laser Eye Surgery?

Research suggests that approximately 90% of patients who seek PRK laser eye surgery enjoy better vision in the end5

PRK Laser Eye Surgery Benefits and Risks

1. Main PRK Benefits

  • Being a refractive laser eye surgery procedure, PRK can eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. However, the procedure comes with a fair share of potential risks.

2. Main PRK Risks

  • PRK is invasive since it involves the removal of the epithelium before lasers are used to reshape other cornea layers, meaning it comes with all the potential risks linked to invasive laser procedures.
  • The procedure also tends to be uncomfortable.
  • Recovery periods are longer than LASIK.
  • There’s also a high risk of experiencing eye dryness, sensitivity, irritation, visual disturbances/changes, under correction, among other eventualities.

PRK Laser Eye Surgery Candidates

Ideally, those eligible for LASIK can undergo PRK i.e., those with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The surgery is recommendable for individuals aged 18 and above with stable vision.

PRK Laser Eye Surgery Recovery

PRK takes longer than LASIK to recover6. Considering it’s an invasive procedure, there’s the risk of never experiencing complete healing. Intense postoperative care is needed to reduce post-operative risks like infection.

5. SMILE

What is SMILE LASER Eye Surgery?

SMILE (or small-incision lenticule extraction) is a surgical eye procedure that reshapes the cornea. The procedure focuses light on the retina, resulting in sharper vision. SMILE corrects four main refractive errors (myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, and presbyopia). 

How is SMILE Eye Surgery Done?

SMILE is done using advanced technology i.e., a special laser (femtosecond laser) that cuts a tiny lens-shaped disc on the cornea. The disc is then extracted via a tiny incision (also made using a femtosecond laser) before the cornea is reshaped to treat refractive errors9.

What is the Success Rate of SMILE Laser Eye Surgery?

Research suggests that 88% of SMILE eye surgery patients enjoy a 20/40 visual acuity without corrective lenses (contact lenses or eyeglasses)10

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Benefits and Risks

1. Main SMILE Surgery Benefits

  • The procedure is done under local anesthesia, making it comfortable and painless.
  • On occasion, there might be some potential complications affecting long-term vision. 
  • SMILE offers faster recovery (than LASIK) since the incision is tiny and the procedure causes minimal corneal nerve damage
  • SMILE is better than LASIK for persons with active lifestyles

2. Main SMILE Eye Surgery Risks

  • Discomfort is common after the surgery when the anesthesia wears off.
  • Common effects like redness, pain, gritty sensation, and tearing are expected.
  • There are high risks of under-correction or overcorrection, which means that you aren’t assured of getting rid of glasses or contact lenses.

Who Are the Ideal SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Candidates?

SMILE is best suited for active people with thinner corneas. SMILE offers a fairly fast recovery time and there is not that much risk of corneal nerve damage. However, it’s worth noting that SMILE is a relatively new laser eye procedure currently approved (by the FDA) for treating astigmatism and myopia. While it may be effective in tackling other refractive errors, it helps to wait for more trials.

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Recovery

Recovery is faster than LASIK given it is considerably less invasive.

Looking for the best laser eye surgery in Toronto? 

We’ve summarized the main types of laser surgery for vision correction and all the important information, including benefits, risks, ideal candidate for laser eye surgery, success rates, and more. While there are many options for patients, it’s always recommendable to seek the most effective and least invasive type of surgery. In this case, TransPRK and NO-CUT laser eye surgery stands out.

To learn more about NO-CUT or TransPRK procedures and if you are an ideal candidate, claim a FREE no-cut laser surgery consultation at Goldberg Vision Centre in Toronto –a renowned clinic with 30+ years of vision correction experience and world-class laser eye surgeons.  

Get a comprehensive eye exam and discover everything from your cornea thickness and shape, ocular dryness, and overall suitability to undergo treatment to the actual cost of NO-CUT Laser eye surgery in Toronto and more.

While at it, claim incredible discounts (up to 15% on laser correction) and discover the cost savings you would enjoy from seeking this treatment and getting rid of corrective lenses forever.

 

References

[1] Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/health/eye-health/lasik-success-rates/

[2] ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0886335016302346

[3] Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/health/eye-health/lasik-success-rates/#footnote_2

[4] Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/prk-vs-lasik#recovery

[5] AAO: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/photorefractive-keratectomy-prk

[6] Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/prk-vs-lasik#efficacy

[7] HealthWorld: https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/the-evolution-of-laser-surgery-transprk-for-eye-treatment/105701051 

[8] BMC Ophthalmology: https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-020-01515-9 

[9] Webmd: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/what-is-smile-eye-surgery

[10] Webmd: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/what-is-smile-eye-surgery

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