Advanced Surface Ablation is a routinely performed Laser Vision Correction procedure to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses; it can correct short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism (blurred vision due to the shape of the cornea not being regular). It differs to LASIK as it does not involve the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the most superficial self-healing layer of the cornea, the epithelium, is removed; the excimer laser then sculpts the cornea, correcting the refractive error.
Advanced Surface Ablation is usually performed if the cornea is too thin for LASIK or the creation of flap is undesirable, such as when hobbies or occupation risk eye injury. Most of these patients can now be treated with SMILE, a new flapless keyhole procedure that is available at Laser Vision Eye Centre.
The entire procedure is painless, although a feeling of pressure on the eyes may be noticed at times. Similar to LASIK, it typically lasts 5-10 minutes for each eye and around 30 minutes for the whole procedure.
After anaesthetic drops are given to numb the eyes you will be taken to the treatment room and asked to lay on the bed. A lid speculum is applied to keep your eyes open and to stop you from blinking. The surgeon firstly removes the corneal epithelium usually with the assistance of a dilute alcohol solution that weakens the attachments of the epithelium. Then the excimer laser is used to resculpt your cornea. A protective contact lens is finally placed on the eye to minimize post-operative discomfort and assist healing.
Immediately after the procedure you will be taken to your room to rest where the surgeon will check your eyes. You will be given antibiotic, steroid and lubricating eye drops to assist healing of your eyes. You will continue to administer these at home for the next few weeks. Oral pain relief will also be provided. You should arrange for someone to drive you home where you should rest for the remainder of the day.
A key difference between Advanced Surface Ablation and LASIK or SMILE is that following Advanced Surface Ablation the gritty sensation and sensitivity to light are more pronounced and last longer – typically 3-5 days. The improvement in vision is also slower, taking up to 1 month to stabilise. However, the final vision is not inferior to LASIK or SMILE.
You will return to the clinic a few days after your procedure to check your progress. Your Laser Vision Eye Centre surgeons, David or Aris, will review you at this visit. You will also have check ups at 1-2 weeks and 3 months.