( Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis )
LASEK Versus PRK
This procedure is similar to PRK in that it does not involve cutting a flap. It is designed to simulate a PRK but with less pain, less cornea haze, and faster return of vision.
LASEK Procedure Removing the Epithelium
Instead of removing the epithelium with mechanical force with a blade or brush, an alcohol solution is applied to the cornea which causes the epithelium to loosen from the underlying corneal tissues. An instrument that will hold the alcohol on the cornea is placed on the eye .The alcohol is instilled onto the cornea and held in place. It is left on the cornea for several seconds and then rinsed away. The epithelium is the gently moved out of the way to the side of the cornea.
The Excimer laser is then used to perform the surgery. The laser treatment will usually only last seconds. The epithelium is either moved back into place or removed from the cornea. The epithelium if left in place may or may not survive but the healing and corneal haze is improved with this technique. A contact lens is then usually place on the eye.
LASEK Post OP
You will be using antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops after the surgery. There will be some pain or discomfort after the surgery. The contact lens helps with reducing the pain. The contact lens can be removed by the third or fourth day after surgery once the epithelium has healed and your eye feels comfortable. It may be six or seven days until the vision is adequate for normal everyday activities or work. The vision will continue to improve and may take a few months to reach the best vision.
LASEK Advantage Over LASIK
This procedure is used by many doctors for people with corneas that are too thin for LASIK. Most doctors feel that a minimum of 250 microns of cornea tissue needs to be left in place after surgery for the cornea to remain stable. With Lasik surgery the flap is made anywhere from 100 to 150 microns. This takes away from what tissue can be left after LASIK. Therefore, if someone does not have enough corneal thickness for a LASIK procedure, they may be able have a LASEK performed. For some doctors LASEK is their preferred method of performing Excimer laser surgery. It may be safer than LASIK for people who are at risk of trauma to the eye as there is not a flap that can be torn or dislodged. People with a risk of eye trauma are sports participates, police officers, and soldiers. These may benefit from this type of procedure.