LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) is an alternative to LASIK. It makes laser vision correction possible for people whose corneas are too steep or too thin for LASIK, as well as those whose pupils are too large. LASEK corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, so that you can enjoy freedom from wearing glasses or contact lenses. No flap is created in LASEK surgery, so certain risks of LASIK are avoided.
LASEK vs. LASIK
In LASEK just like LASIK an excimer laser is used to make small adjustments to the shape of your cornea. These adjustments change the way your cornea bends light, correcting refractive errors.
The difference between LASEK and LASIK is how the laser reaches the cornea. In LASIK, a blade or a laser is used to create a small flap in the outer layer of the cornea, through which the excimer laser has access to the stroma which is the part of the cornea where the corrections are performed. In LASEK, the top layer of your cornea is removed while the work is performed on the stroma. Then it is replaced. You will wear a special contact lens for a few days to facilitate healing.
Advantages of LASEK include:
- No risk of flap complications
- Corneal strength is maintained
- Less effect on corneal integrity, allowing for more enhancements in the future if needed
If you are tired of depending on glasses or contacts, LASEK surgery may be right for you. LASEK may be an option if you are not a good candidate for LASIK for any of the following reasons:
- Cornea is too steep – high myopic values
- Cornea is too thin
- Pupils are too large
- Dry eyes
- Career or lifestyle makes flap creation undesirable
LASEK vs. PRK
Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) is another alternative to LASIK that does not involve the creation of a flap. Like in LASEK, in PRK the outer layer of the cornea is removed entirely. However, in PRK it is scraped away and discarded. It is not put back in place. The epithelial cells grow back over a period of a few days.
In both LASEK and PRK, recovery takes longer than with LASIK surgery. Both surgeries carry a greater risk of corneal haze. Some surgeons prefer LASEK, while others prefer PRK.
If you would like to learn more about alternatives to LASIK surgery, please search this site for a list of ophthalmologists near you.