LASEK is a variation of PRK laser eye surgery, and is a good alternative to LASIK, if LASIK isn’t a suitable option. It’s carried out to correct myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism, a condition that effects the shape of the eye.
As with other laser eye procedures, LASEK reshapes the cornea with the use of a laser. This allows light entering the eye to be focused on to the retina, improving vision and eliminating the reliance on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.
As LASEK doesn’t require the creation of a flap to carry out the procedure it’s more suitable for people with thinner corneas. The results achieve through LASEK are also comparable with LASIK.
Assessing your eligibility for LASEK laser eye surgery
Before LASEK surgery you will need to be assessed by your eye doctor to see if laser eye surgery is a suitable option for you. An eye examination checking the size of your pupils, the moisture of the eye, the curvature of the cornea and the thickness of the cornea will be carried out.
Additionally, your surgeon may look at your medical history to assess your suitability for the procedure. This will include a check of your medical background and any medication you’re taking.
Usually, if it’s determined that LASIK is not an option available to you, LASEK will be considered.
What is involved in LASEK laser eye surgery?
There are many reasons why people choose to have eye correction surgery. For some it may be a convince factor, meaning they no longer have to buy glasses or contact lenses. For others it may be an aesthetic or occupational necessity.
Many people like the idea of having eye correction surgery but the procedure can seem daunting from a distance. This is why it’s so important to prepare yourself by understanding how the procedure works, and set some expectations.
Generally, laser eye surgeries work by changing the shape of the cornea to focus the light entering the eye. This makes it possible to create a more clear and focused image in the back of the eye, resulting in improved vision.
The LASEK procedure involves the following:
- 3-D imagery of the surface of the eye is used to identify the areas that need to be corrected with the laser
- Anaesthetic drops are used to numb the area before the procedure begins
- An alcoholic solution is place on the surface of the eye to help soften the cornea
- The 3-D eye map is used to guide the laser and correct the cornea, reshaping it as necessary.
- Once the correction is made, the surgeon will place a protective contact lens to help with the healing process.
- After three or four days the protective contact lens is usually removed
Benefits of LASEK laser eye surgery
- No discomfort during the procedure thanks to the use of anaesthetic drops
- Better for the stability of the cornea
- Less risk of dry eyes
- No flap incision
- No flap complication
During consultation, your surgeon will go over in detail the benefits of LASEK over other types of laser eye surgery. Depending on your circumstances a different procedure may be advised, like LASIK.
Who is LASEK laser eye surgery for?
LASEK is ideal for people whose corneas are too thin, and are not eligible for LASIK. It’s also a good alternative for patients who cannot have surgeries that require the creation of a flap to carry out the procedure.
After your LASEK surgery and recovery
Immediately after surgery you’ll be given some time to rest before being allowed to go home. You won’t t be able to drive after surgery so arrange for someone to drive you.
The bandage contact lens will need to stay on your eye for around four days, your surgeon will advise as necessary. The bandage will help the surface of the eye heal better.
Antibiotics and other medications may be prescribed by your doctor to minimise discomfort and reduce the chance of infections.
You will start noticing visual improvements after a week. Full recovery can take longer, anything from a few weeks to several months.
LASEK laser eye surgery risks and complications
Although LASEK is a low risk procedure, there are some potential risks and complication to be aware of.
- Blurry, hazy vision
- Over or under correction which results in less than perfect vision – might still reply on glasses and contact lenses, at a lesser degree.
- Dry eyes
- Eye infection an irritation
What is the difference between LASEK vs PRK surgery?
LASEK and PRK are very similar procedures. The one major difference is that LASEK preserves and replaces the epithelial layer where as PRK completely removes the epithelial tissue. It grows back naturally a few days after surgery.
Corneal epithelial is a bit of tissue that covers the front of the cornea and is a barrier to protect the cornea.
What is the difference between LASEK vs LASIK surgery?
LASIK eye surgery involves making a flap on the surface of the eye to reshape the cornea. LASEK avoids this and is a better choice for people with thin corneas. If the cornea is too thin LASIK cannot be an option.
LASEK does not run the risk of any corneal flap related complication.
There is also less risk of developing dry eyes with LASEK. This is because the flap created for LASEK is made in the epithelial layer of the eye.
It’s also important to remember that the typically recovery time for LASEK is longer than LASIK. Patients undergoing LASEK may also feel more discomfort from the procedure.
Things to consider before LASEK eye surgery
Deciding to have laser eye surgery requires a lot of careful thought and consideration. You need to really understand the reasons for choosing the procedure you want and set realistic expectations of the outcome.
Sometimes it may seem like an easy decision to take because the positives outweigh the negatives. However, it’s always important to make sure everything has been considered and your ready move on.
Here are some things you should think about:
- How long is the recovery time for your treatment?
- Do you need to take time off work?
- When will you start to see the results you expect?
- When will you fully recover and resume your usual activity?
- Are the results of the surgery permanent?
- What do you need to do to maintain the results of the procedure?
Start your search
You may or may not be ready for laser eye surgery, but it’s never too soon to reach out to a clinic or hospital, or a doctor, to start a conversation. A major part of your research into the procedure you’re looking for should include direct communication, and a consultation, with an expert. Feel free to contact multiple care providers and experts. The more information you can gather about your procedure and surgeon the better decision you’re likely to make.