Lasik vs Lasek Eye Surgery– The Procedure Explained

eyelashesLaser vision correction involves the process of re-shaping or removing layers of the cornea to eliminate the need for distance vision correction. When done, patients can expect to be rewarded with 20/20 vision with no need for glasses or contacts ever again. There are different treatments depending on the patient and their biopic sight level. Treatment is dependent on patients who are pre-presbyopic or have higher prescriptions; but ultimately your surgeon will suggest the best treatment specific to you.

There are two general types of laser correction procedures that are used to carry this out.

  1.       LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis)
  2.       LASEK (Laser Assisted Subepithelial Keratectomy)

Although LASIK is the most commonly used procedure, the LASEK is available to patients whose corneal thickness and shape is varied and so requires a slightly different approach. A pachymetry and pentacam assessment is carried out before your consultation to determine this.

LASIK has a distinct advantage over LASEK; however the type of procedure is entirely dependent on your personal needs. Contrary to popular belief, LASIK and LASEK use the same laser and so it can be expected that whichever laser you use the end result will be the same. LASIK is normally associated with less discomfort and a faster healing process. The differences however are minimal.

LASIK Procedure

The first stage of the LASIK procedure is of course meeting and consulting with your surgeon. When the surgery is about to begin the surgeon will anaesthetise the cornea and insert a lid speculum to keep the eyelids open – being awake and aware during the operation is necessary so that the eye can remain centred on the blinking laser. A suction ring is applied to the limbus and elevates the eye and pupil surface size to about 65mmHg. A microscopic flap of corneal tissue is created on the surface of the eye and the suction ring is released. With the stromal bed of the eye exposed the laser operation is ready to begin. The actual laser procedure itself lasts only minutes. After which the flap is washed down in a balanced salt solution and carefully replaced.

LASEK Procedure

lensThe LASEK procedure is very similar to LASIK in that it uses the same technology and laser, just at a higher concentration. A solution of 18% Ethanol is applied to the epithelium (layer covering the eye) for about 30 seconds and is removed for laser treatment. After the surgery the epithelium is repositioned or discarded and a bandage contact lens is placed over the cornea for 4 days after the procedure or until epithelium has fully regenerated. For those of a higher prescription the laser treatment may be longer which invariably leads to a slightly longer recovery time.

So while LASIK has distinct advantages over LASEK, it is important to remember that the two procedures use the exact same laser and so both have the capacity for life changing procedures. It is also worth noting that over 90 % of referrals invariably lead to LASIK treatment, so chances are you will be in this group.

The recovery period following laser eye correction surgery can vary from patient to patient. Those which had a long spell of exposure will feel the aftermath for about a week after surgery; whereas those that have undergone the LASIK treatment may see the swelling reduce within a few days. Despite swelling of the eyes for a number of days after, the results are almost instantly recognisable.

For more information on laser eye surgery and to gauge other peoples’ opinions, visit the Optical Express Website to gather your own opinion of people’s success stories.