What is LASEK?
LASEK (Laser Assisted Subepithelial Keratectomy) or ASA (Advanced Surface Ablation) is a safer modification of the LASIK procedure. It was developed to reduce the chance of complications that occur when the flap is created during LASIK. LASEK is a substantial improvement over past procedures in that it is performed without a flap, with no cutting on the eye, and with the advanced technology of the VISX® Star S4 IR Excimer Laser.
How is the surgery procedure performed?
First the epithelium (or outer layer of the cornea) is removed using a gentle brush that loosens the epithelial cells. The surgeon then uses the VISX® Star S4 IR Excimer Laser, as in LASIK or PRK, to sculpt the corneal tissue underneath the removed epithelial cells. More of the corneal surface is exposed for treatment than with LASIK, making Advanced Surface Ablation a better and safer choice for patients who require greater vision correction.
A contact lens is inserted after the procedure, protecting the epithelium as it regenerates for 3-5 days following surgery. The contact lens is then removed after the epithelial growth is complete. The contact lens, also called the bandage contact lens, protects the patient from discomfort as well as protects the growth of the new epithelial cells.
The entire LASEK procedure takes only 15-30 minutes per eye, and patients are often ready to leave our Ambulatory Surgery center within an hour or two of arrival. Patients may experience sensitivity following the procedure, but this will subside shortly after the healing process is complete. Discomfort during the healing process is mild.
On average, the healing process is 5-7 days total. Antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed to use following the surgery, along with other over-the-counter medications, such as Vitamin C, Flax Seed Oil, and Ibuprofen. Pain medication is prescribed as needed.
The latest technology
At BoozmanHof we use the VISX® Star S4 IR Excimer Laser system for refractive surgery. This system is FDA approved for Iris Registration and has the highest range of FDA approval for refractive error vision correction. The VISX® Star S4 IR Excimer Laser incorporates numerous advanced features, including an active eye-tracking system, variable beam technology, a faster chair with greater alignment flexibility, and a facial alignment laser projector. These features have established the VISX® Star S4 IR Excimer Laser as the “gold standard” in excimer laser technology, preferred by 2/3 of U.S. refractive eye surgeons.
We also feature Wavefront technology, which allows our surgeons to perform customized LASEK using information gathered from the patient’s individual corneal and refractive patterns. This allows for a truly individualized procedure.
Our cataract refractive surgeon, Dr. Randall E. Cole, is highly trained and experienced in vision correction surgery and has performed over 20,000 cataract and 10,000 refractive procedures since 1985. LASEK, like any surgical procedure, is never guaranteed. Studies show that approximately 98% of patients achieve their best corrected vision or better. However, each individual is different. Some patients may need glasses after surgery. More than likely, you’ll need reading glasses around the age of 40 as presbyopia symptoms are brought on by natural changes to the lens of the eye due to aging.