Laser treatment techniques
Similarities between PRK/LASEK, Femto-LASIK and ReLEx smile
All laser eye techniques use the same principle: by altering the shape of your cornea, the surgeon is able to correct errors of refraction in the eye. Permanent correction of the cornea is possible by treating the stroma, the underlying layer. We know that the stroma holds its shape after laser eye treatment. The outer layer, the epithelium, however, will return to its original shape after treatment.
- All procedures are quick. With the current equipment available, treatments usually last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes. As the procedure takes so little time, it is not considered unpleasant.
- All techniques are simple from the patient’s point of view. During laser eye treatment, you will be lying on a treatment table, and your eye will be positioned under the laser’s microscope. During treatment, you will be asked by your surgeon to look at a blinking light, which will be easy to see.
- All procedures are painless because your eyes are numbed with eye drops. This means you will feel some sensation, but it will not be painful.
- If you compare the results after the recovery period, there is certain difference between PRK/LASEK, Femto-LASIK and ReLEx smile depending on the refractive error. For myopia between -4 and -10 diopters, the visual results of ReLEx smile are better compared to other techniques. For errors between 0 and -4 diopters, ReLEx smile remains the safest option but there is no significant difference in visual results.
Differences between treatments
The table below shows the differences between the various procedures. Obviously, this is a general overview, and individual recovery terms may vary. However, this table gives a clear overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. Where a technique provides a relative advantage compared to the other techniques, this is indicated with a √.
|In use for||√ 30 years||10 years||5 years|
|Recovery of eyesight||7 days||√ 24 hours||√ 24 hours|
| Full stabilization
|3 months||√ 6 weeks||√ 6 weeks|
|Side effect after traetment||Irritation, lasting3 days, occasional pain possible||√ Irritation lasting 24 hours||√ Irritation lasting 6 hours|
| Risk of dislocation, tearing
or loss of corneal flap
|√ No||Yes||√ No|
| Dryness of the eye
|Yes, temporary||Yes, permanent in rare cases||√ No|
|Re-treatment rate||4%||7%||√ 1%|