When LASIK Isn’t an Option, EBK – a Minimally Invasive Eye Surgery Alternative – Trumps PRK
- Posted on: Jan 28 2016
If you’re tired of wearing glasses and have been ruled out as a candidate
for LASIK, a new eye surgery advance may be a viable option for you.
Recent research reveals that patients who opt for an EBK (Epi-Bowman Keratectomy) procedure can realize a number of benefits over
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), which preceded EBK as a surgical alternative
to LASIK. EBK’s most notable benefits include shorter healing times
and less pain.
Key-Whitman Eye Center
President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., is one of the first eye surgeons to perform the EBK procedure using the
Epi Clear device in North Texas. “I had the opportunity to meet
and train extensively with the developers of the Epi Clear device last
year and am delighted about both the patient feedback I’ve received
and their outcomes following EBK.”
Convinced that EBK could provide patients a safe, effective and more comfortable
alternative to PRK, Dr. Whitman began offering the procedure at Key-Whitman
Eye Center’s Dallas location last year.
“Our experience with EBK and the Epi Clear device in Dallas, echoes
the results of research published in
Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today – Europe and the journal
Current Eye Research. EBK is kinder to the eye, the patient is more comfortable during the
healing phase and the eye generally heals more quickly – about 24
to 48 hours faster than traditional PRK. Plus, compared to PRK, our EBK
patients have required less pain medication and for a shorter period of
time,” Dr. Whitman says.
So why isn’t LASIK an option for some people?
According to Dr. Whitman, there are two key reasons patients will look
for alternatives to LASIK eye surgery – one is anatomical and the
other is patient preference.
“The number one reason people are not
viable candidates for LASIK eye surgery is their cornea is too thin. During LASIK, we create a corneal flap that
gives the surgeon access to perform the laser correction. The creation
of the flap takes away a certain amount of thickness or tissue from the cornea.
There is a specific amount of tissue that we consider safe and need to
leave behind once we create the flap. So, if we determine there isn’t
enough thickness in the cornea to safely perform LASIK, then we may recommend
surface ablation (EBK or PRK) as an option,” says Dr. Whitman.
Scars, especially toward the center of the cornea, can also disqualify
some patients from LASIK, because the laser that makes the flap can’t
cut through scars. In many cases, surface ablation –
either with PRK or EBK – allows the surgeon to laser through corneal scars.
As far as preference is concerned, some patients simply don’t want
to have a flap. As Dr. Whitman explains, “In the past, the military
wouldn’t allow certain personnel to have a LASIK procedure with
a flap, because they thought there could be some issues during battle.
Since then, LASIK has been found to be safe and is no longer prohibited
by the military – but that misconception and others are still out
Why does the EBK procedure deliver better outcomes than PRK?
With both EBK and PRK, the eye surgeon surgically removes the top layer
of the cornea, the epithelium, which gives him or her safe access to the
cornea for the laser correction. Following the procedure, the epithelium
grows back and heals naturally.
With EBK and the Epi Clear device, the eye surgeon is able to perform the
procedure more quickly, because unlike PRK, no chemical solution is applied
to hasten the removal of the epithelial layer. Instead, in the hands of
a skilled eye surgeon, the device does most of the work.
In addition, during the EBK procedure, the Epi Clear device removes only
the epithelial layer, so there is less risk of damage to tissue under
the epithelium as there can be with PRK. This is another reason patients
who undergo EBK are more likely to heal more quickly.
As the leader of the only eye center in North Texas to offer Epi Clear,
Dr. Whitman is an expert in how the device works and why it offers advantages
As he explains, “After numbing the eye, it only takes 10 to 15 seconds
to remove the epithelium during an EBK procedure. It’s quicker,
less caustic to the eye and the cornea tends to heal up faster. Studies
show that the percentage of patients healing in 48 to 72 hours was near
double that for PRK. With this new technology available at our
Dallas eye surgery center, I don’t see any reason for our patients to undergo PRK over EBK.”
How does the Epi Clear device work?
Dr. Whitman says the best analogy to describe how the polymer plastic Epi
Clear device works is to think of a disposable, double-blade razor.
“The difference is the Epi Clear blades are plastic instead of metal
and both blades play a specific role. The first, longer blade cleanly
removes the epithelium, then the second, shorter blade collects any debris
that is removed and seals it inside the device,” says Dr. Whitman.
This process also helps expedite the procedure, since the eye surgeon doesn’t
need to spend more time meticulously cleaning the eye before moving on
to the laser eye treatment.
Schedule a free consultation to weigh your eye surgery options
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and are ready to reduce
your dependence on glasses, we can help. To schedule a consultation with
an experienced eye surgeon in Dallas, call Key-Whitman Eye Center at
request a free LASIK or EBK consultation here, via our handy online form.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club
Posted in: Eye Surgery