Difference Between LASEK and LASIK
Most people have heard of LASIK, but some may not be familiar with the vision correction procedure called LASEK. When you see the acronym LASEK, this is not a typographical error; it’s a safer modification of the LASIK procedure that is often performed on patients with corneas that are too thin or steep for LASIK.
At BoozmanHof, our doctors feel that LASEK is a safer method for all of our nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatic patients who want clear vision. In both procedures, excimer laser energy is used to reshape the cornea and correct the refractive error. The main difference between LASIK and LASEK is how the doctor gains access to the inner section of the cornea.
The First Step in LASIK vs. LASEK
During LASIK, the doctor creates a corneal flap using a hand-held blade or a laser to allow access to the underlying tissue. There can be complications that occur when this flap is created and when it is reattached after the procedure.
However, during the LASEK procedure, there is no corneal flap created. Instead, an extremely thin portion of the outer epithelial layer of the cornea is removed using a gentle brush. After the procedure these epithelial cells naturally regenerate.
Because the epithelial cells need time to regenerate, recovery from LASEK typically takes 5-7 days. And complete recovery time takes about 2-3 weeks. A special contact lens is inserted after the procedure to protect the eyes as they heal. Patients can also experience slight discomfort and sensitivity during LASEK recovery. Antibiotic eye drops, pain medication and vitamins can provide relief.
Advantages of LASEK
- A greater number of patients can be considered good candidates for LASEK because there is no corneal flap created.
- There is a lower risk of dry eye after surgery and there is no risk of corneal flap complications.
- Corneal strength is not compromised, so this is a better alternative for patients who are highly active in sports or other activities that could put their eyes at risk.
LASEK: What to Expect
At BoozmanHof our staff does everything possible to make your LASEK procedure as comfortable as possible. We realize that patients may be a bit anxious about the process, so we’ve assembled this page to show what to expect on the day of your LASEK procedure.
Plan to arrive at our surgery center at your surgery time. This will give us time to check you in and complete any paperwork that is necessary. With those “housekeeping” items out of the way, we can get started.
- We’ll take you into the pre-op suite and give you some eye drops to prepare your eyes. We also provide some relaxation medication.
- Then we’ll move you into our comfortable laser suite. You will recline on a special chair with a warm blanket. Your doctor will once again recap how the procedure will go and answer any last minute questions you may have.
- We will start the procedure which will take 15-30 minutes per eye. You’ll feel a bit of pressure on your eye and possibly some slight discomfort as a thin layer of the cornea is gently removed and the excimer laser reshapes the underlying layers of the cornea.
- A special contact lens is then inserted into your eye to help protect the cornea as the cells regenerate. This lens will be removed after the healing is complete (in 3-5 days).
- You’ll return to the pre-op suite while the eye drops wear off and you are given your post-operative instructions.
- Your doctor will make one final check of your eyes. Then you can go home.
At home you should rest or take a nap. The full healing process takes 5-7 days. During this time you should follow your doctor’s instructions for using antibiotic eye drops, over-the-counter vitamins and pain medication.
It is also important to return to our office for your follow-up visits to ensure that your eyes are healing properly. These are typically scheduled:
- The day after your procedure
- One week later
- Three months after surgery
The vision results with LASEK are comparable to LASIK. You may even be able to achieve 20/20 vision or better after LASEK at BoozmanHof.
The only way to find out if you are a good candidate for LASEK is by scheduling a free LASEK Consultation with the team at BoozmanHof. Contact us today or take our free online LASEK Questionnaire as a first step.