Education And Debate

Fortnightly Review: Treating myopia with the excimer laser: the present position

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 15 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:979
  1. David S Gartry, fellow in corneal and anterior segment surgerya
  1. a Moorfields Eye Hospital, London EC1V 2PD


    Summary points

    • Excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy is the latest in a long line of surgical treatments for myopia (short sightedness)

    • Around 50 centres (including three research centres) in the United Kingdom offer this treatment and tens of thousands of patients have been treated worldwide

    • Considerable individual variation in corneal wound healing exists following photorefractive keratectomy, and this limits the predictability of the procedure

    • Predictability of refractive outcome is much better for lower amounts of myopia (up to around - 6.00 dioptres)

    • Important side effects exist which are all more common in people with higher myopia (regression, corneal haze, loss of best corrected visual acuity)

    • Overall patient satisfaction is high and around 85% of patients are pleased with the outcome even if this is a partial correction only

    • Careful patient selection and counselling are vitally important, and all patients must be fully informed of possible side effects

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