Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
LASEK is a relatively new laser vision procedure that combines elements of PRK and LASIK, and may offer some advantages over both. Instead of removing the epithelium (the thin layer of protective skin that covers the cornea) like in PRK, a flap of surface epithelium is loosened with a diluted alcohol solution and moved aside. The surface under the epithelium is then treated with the laser and the epithelial flap is returned to its original position. Using the epithelium flap as a natural protective bandage with LASEK, as opposed to completely removing the epithelium as with PRK, may improve healing and the incidence of postoperative haze.
The margin of safety with LASEK may be greater than that with LASIK as the need for a microkeratome is eliminated, so there’s no risk of flap complications.
LASEK removes tissue within the cornea to treat low to high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
LASEK is for those who:
- want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts
- are over 18 years of age
- have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
- have no health issues affecting their eyes
- have wide pupils
- have corneas too thin for LASIK
- who do not want LASIK because it requires a microkeratome
The decision to have LASEK is an important one that only you can make. The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. However, we cannot guarantee you will have the results you desire. The vast majority of our patients are extremely happy with their vision after LASEK and can do most activities without dependence on corrective lenses.
Serious complications with LASEK are extremely rare. LASEK is a safe, effective and permanent procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks. Many of the risks and complications associated with this procedure can be reduced or eliminated through careful patient selection and thorough pre-operative testing using the latest diagnostic technology.
After LASEK, you may experience some visual side effects. These visual side effects are usually mild and most often diminish over a few days to a few weeks. But there is a slight chance that some of these side effects won’t go away completely, such as feelings of dryness, glare and halos.
After a thorough eye exam, you and your doctor will determine if LASEK is an option for you. If you are a good candidate, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.