A 90-second procedure pioneered by Bobby Qureshi, a consulting ophthalmic surgeon at the London Eye Hospital, could eliminate most of the risks associated with laser eye surgery. This simple treatment, known as Lasik Xtra, combines UV lights and eye drops to reduce the risk of regression of sight, epithelial ingrowth, and corneal ectasia — three of the complications associated with laser eye surgery.
Bobby Qureshi states: “This treatment is the greatest advance in laser eye surgery in the last 20 years to reduce risk.” No one who has undergone the new procedure experienced any of the three common serious complications associated with laser eye treatment, according to the manufacturers.
Mr. Qureshi claims, “The procedure ensures that the risk of developing serious complications from laser treatment is virtually reduced to zero.”
Traditional laser eye surgery
Traditional laser eye surgery involves removing the tissue of the cornea, which changes its shape. Various types of laser eye surgery are available but LASIK (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) is the most common laser eye procedure.
The surgery involves preparing the eye by applying anesthetic drops. Then a femtosecond laser is used to create a small flap on the surface of the cornea. The laser is used to remove a small amount of tissue, which reshapes the cornea before replacing the flap. The surgery takes only a few minutes per eye.
Risks of laser eye surgery
Patients who undergo standard LASIK treatment run the risk of corneal ectasia — which causes the weakened cornea to give way to pressure resulting in bulging; epithelial ingrowth — which cause cells on the surface of the eye to grow under the corneal flap; and infection.
Patients also have the risk of regression, in which far- or near-sightedness returns months or years after the procedure and requires the patient to wear glasses or return for another treatment.
Benefits of LASIK Xtra
With LASIK Xtra, however, the risks associated with laser eye treatment are drastically reduced. This treatment cross-links the fibers in the cornea, which makes them thicker and more resilient.
The eye drops used in LASIK Xtra contain a modified version of Vitamin B2 riboflavin and are applied after the laser eye treatment. Once the drops are placed in the eye, they’re activated with a UV light.
Without LASIK Xtra, patients run a higher risk of surgical complications and could require future treatment to deal with the effects of corneal weakness. Mr. Qureshi recommends that every person who undergoes laser eye surgery should take the 90-second treatment.
LASIK Xtra availability
As of 2013, 50,000 patients in Japan have received LASIK Xtra. The treatment is now being offered in London as a standard for all laser eye surgery, including LASEK and LASIK used to correct far-sightedness, near-sightedness, and astigmatism.
Despite the fact that LASIK Xtra is widely used around the world, it has only recently become available in the UK and is not yet available here. However, clinical trials are currently underway in the US and there’s every hope that this procedure will be added to the latest treatment technologies offered to American patients.