Laser epithelial keratomileusis, more commonly known as LASEK eye surgery, is a variation of LASIK eye surgery. LASEK combines the technologies and benefits of LASIK and PRK, the two most popular laser eye procedures. Like LASIK, LASEK can be used to treat farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. The main difference between LASEK and LASIK is how the inner part of the cornea is accessed for the laser remodeling phase. By consulting with a specialist at Horizon Eye Specialists & LASIK Center, you can be assured that your doctor will help you choose the best procedure for your eyes.
In all forms of laser eye surgery, your surgeon will need to gain access to the inner part of your cornea, as the laser cannot be applied directly to the outer parts of the eye. In LASIK eye surgery, a corneal flap is created to give the surgeon access to the underlying cornea. To create the flap, the doctor must cut a thin layer of the cornea and lift it to one side. After the surgeon has used the laser to correct your eye, the corneal flap will be carefully repositioned in its original place. The process for LASEK is slightly different, as no flap is created. The doctor will loosen the epithelium (the outer layer of the cornea) using an alcohol solution, and then move it to one side. After the laser is applied, the epithelium will be smoothed back into place.
There are pros and cons for both procedures. LASEK and LASIK procedures produce a similar quality of results and are equally likely to result in 20/20 vision. The cost of the procedure is about the same amount at most clinics. The recovery period after LASIK is much shorter than the LASEK procedure; however, the risk of complications in the LASEK procedure is far less than with LASIK, as most complications are associated with the creation and healing of the corneal flap. Patients undergoing LASEK often experience greater pain and discomfort following the procedure. If you engage in contact sports, your doctor will be more likely to recommend that you undergo LASEK procedure, as the procedure does not compromise the strength of the cornea, as may happen with LASIK. LASEK is also recommended to patients who have thin corneas and would typically be ineligible to receive LASIK. LASEK has a lower occurrence of dry eye syndrome, so it is a better option for those who already suffer from dry eyes.
LASIK eye surgery is more commonly performed, as the ability to return to regular activities more quickly and avoid higher levels of pain is appealing to most people. For patients who have thin corneas or other lifestyle reasons for avoiding the creation of corneal flaps, LASEK is a great alternative. Anyone who wants to eliminate the risks associated with corneal flap creation should seriously consider undergoing LASEK as opposed to LASIK. Ultimately, only a specialized eye surgeon, like those at Horizon Eye Specialists & LASIK Center, can make the ultimate determination about which procedure you should undergo.