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Epi-LASIK surgery takes 10 to 15 minutes to perform. The patient is prepared as for a LASIK procedure, with the eye numbed with anesthetic drops and a special device holding the eye open.
The surgeon uses an oscillating plastic "blade" to gently separate the epithelemium (top layer of the cornea) from the cornea beneath. Once it is removed, a laser reshapes the cornea to correct the patient's vision.
After this correction is done, the ephithelemium is returned to its natural position with a spatula-like instrument, and a special contact lens is placed over the eye to act as a sort of Band-Aid.
For the next few days the bandage lens will stay in place, and the patient may experience irritation, watery eyes, and the sensation of a foreign body in the eye. It will be four to six weeks before full visual acuity is regained.