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In LASIK surgery, a flap is cut in the cornea with a blade or laser. Epi-LASIK surgery is gentler on the cornea, using a blunt plastic oscillating blade. Because it is less invasive, it is possible to achieve good results with epi-LASIK in people whose corneas are too thin or unusually shaped, making them poor candidates for LASIK.
Standard LASIK surgery has a shorter recovery time with less pain than epi-LASIK. Epi-LASIK eye surgery may also be an option for those who are at risk of being struck in the eye -- police officers and athletes, for example. This risk makes them poor candidates for standard LASIK, because a blow to the eye could dislodge the cut flap.