Zyoptix is essentially a personalised laser eye surgery procedure to treat short- and far-sightedness. Where standard LASIK is able to re-create the vision you can achieve by wearing glasses or contact lenses, Zyoptix allows surgeons to go a step further by examining the unique irregularities on your eye’s surface and correcting those also.
How does Zyoptix work?
Zyoptix combines data from two diagnostic systems to create your personalised laser eye surgery procedure. The first process examines the structure of your cornea to ensure that you are a suitable candidate. The second creates a detailed map of the anatomy of your eye, marking out where all the imperfections are. Known as ‘higher order aberrations,’ these minute flaws affect the finer aspects of your eye sight and may be responsible for you experiencing glare, halos, blurring, starburst patterns or even double vision. The Zyoptix procedure will be able to correct the imperfections thereby reducing, or even eliminating, your experience of these visual disturbances.
Am I eligible for Zyoptix?
In most cases the eligibility criteria for Zypotix is similar to those required for standard LASIK. These are:
- Candidates must be at least 21 years old.
- You should be in good general health. Some medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and autoimmune problems could compromise the results of the procedure, negatively affecting healing times and even increasing the chance of developing an infection.
- Candidates should not have any existing eye conditions such as glaucoma or cataract.
- You should not have laser eye surgery if pregnant as increased hormone levels can temporarily affect the shape of the eye.
- If you have dry eye, laser eye surgery will not be recommended as it can result in a worsening of the condition.
- Your glasses or contact lens prescription should have been stable for at least a year
Zyoptix vs LASIK
There are a number of patient groups who have conditions which had previously made them ineligible for LASIK. Zyoptix has made it possible for many of these to now undergo laser eye surgery. Examples of these patients include:
- Candidates who experience poor night vision or higher order aberrations.
- Candidates with large pupils are not generally suitable for standard LASIK as it can worsen a person’s experience of higher order aberrations such as glare and halos. Zyoptix surgery, however, is able to take these imperfections into account and correct them.
A major benefit of Zyoptix versus LASIK is found in the way that the procedure is carried out. During both surgeries, a small flap needs to be created in the epithelium (the tissue that covers the cornea). In the past, people who had thin corneas were not able to have laser eye surgery as there was a risk that too much tissue you would removed during this process, potentially causing significant damage to the eye. However, Zyoptix uses a device called the Zyoptix XP microkeratome. This device is a precise surgical instrument with an oscillating blade that is able to create predictable and consistent micro-flaps, even on thin corneas – opening up laser eye surgery to a whole new group of people.
An additional advantage of Zyoptix is that is allows patients with higher prescriptions to have laser eye surgery, where before they were unlikely to be eligible. A process called Zyoptix aspheric LASIK involves using the Zyoptix system to correct all the irregularities on the surface of the cornea, helping to maintain the natural curvature of the cornea. This more extreme method may not be appropriate for everyone as it necessitates the removal of significantly more tissue than the standard tissue saving option.
Zyoptic verus Intralase
There is an alternative, blade free, method of creating corneal flaps called IntraLase. Intralase uses a computer guided laser, called a femtosecond laser, to create tiny, overlapping bubbles just below the surface of the cornea. Once this is done a thin flap can be lifted using suction.
There have been numerous studies comparing the effectiveness of both procedures. Although the Zyoptix method is slightly faster, both produce excellent results and it is likely that the method used during your procedure will come down to the personal preference of your ophthalmologist.
The procedure: before, during and after
The procedures involved in undergoing Zyoptix laser eye surgery are almost identical to those involved with LASIK.
- Typically you will be asked to stop wearing contact lenses a couple of weeks before the procedure. This allows plenty of time for your eyes to settle back into their natural shape. You will also be asked to refrain from wearing any eye make-up.
- Although it is a virtually painless procedure, if you are at all anxious you can be given a mild sedative to help calm your nerves and anaesthetic drops will be applied to numb your eyes.
- Your eye will be positioned under the laser and a speculum used to keep your eyelids apart. Then your ophthalmologist will create a small, circular flap in the eyes tissue and will fold it back to access the underlying cornea.
- You will be asked to focus on a small light and then, using the detailed map of your eye, the laser will gently reshapes the cornea using a combination of smaller and larger beams to correct the minute aberrations. In general terms, if you are being treated for short-sightedness the aim is to ‘flatten’ the cornea, whereas if you are far-sighted a ‘steeper’ cornea is desirable.
- Once the laser has completed the treatment, the tissue is put back in place and it will be left to heal naturally without the need for stitches. Typically, the entire procedure takes less than 10 minutes and both eyes can be treated on the same day.
- Following the procedure you will need to rest at the centre for a short while and then arrange for someone to drive you home. Although you will be permitted to drive within a few days, initially your vision may be slightly hazy.
- In most cases you will notice improvement in your eyesight almost immediately and you may be able to return to work within a couple of days – your ophthalmologist will give you advice based on their postoperative check-up.
- Your eyesight should be significantly improved following Zyoptix. Around 91% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better without the need for glasses or contact lenses. It can also significantly improve the quality of your night vision.
There are minimal side effects associated with Zyoptix but you may experience one or more of the following:
- Dry eyes – You are likely to be prescribed artificial tears to help keep the eyes moist in the month following Zyoptix.
- Infection – In rare instances you may develop an infection at the site where the incision was made. Antibiotic drops will be prescribed to treat this.
- Swelling – You may experience slight swelling of the eye following the procedure and this is easily managed with steroidal drops.
- Under/over-correction – Occasionally you may find that your eyesight has been under or over-corrected. If this is the case a second procedure can be carried out to rectify the problem.