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lasik vs lasek

LASIK and LASEK are both laser eye corrective surgical procedures that help to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Both use excimer lasers and work to reshape and ablate part of the cornea to correct vision.

LASIK is one of the most common refractive surgeries and one of the most successful. It has a short healing timeline, and you can almost be completely back to regular activities within a day or two. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes that the vast majority (over 95 percent) of people studied after a LASIK procedure reported satisfaction with their vision.

Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK, however, and LASEK is preferred in some cases. LASEK then be a good option for people who have thin corneas and not enough tissue to harvest to create the flap needed for LASIK.

LASIK and LASEK are forms of corrective refractive eye surgeries, and both reshape corneas permanently. The main difference between them is that with LASIK, a corneal flap is created and replaced, and with LASEK, the top layer of the cornea is loosened, moved, and reattached. It will regenerate itself in about three to five days. Within that time, you are likely to experience some discomfort, and it will take a little longer for your vision to clear with LASEK than with LASIK.

LASEK can be preferable if you have a thin cornea, however, as it does not need to harvest as much tissue as LASIK does.

LASIK and LASEK are very similar procedures that strive for the same result: corrected vision through the reshaping of the cornea using laser technology. Your ophthalmologist can help you decide which procedure may the best option for you. Laser eye surgeons will do an assessment that can determine which form of refractive eye corrective surgery your eyes are best suited for.

Doctors may have a preference between LASEK and LASIK depending on their expertise. LASEK is typically more invasive, but the cuts need to be less finite and precise, and surgeons may feel more comfortable with fewer LASIK flap-related complications.

It is vital to talk to both your ophthalmologist and your surgeon, and to know your options so you can make an informed decision on what will be the best choice.

Below, we’ve listed the pros and cons of each procedure to aid in the decision-making process.

Pros of LASIK:

  • It has a fast healing time of 24 hours, with vision often clearing within a few hours of surgery.
  • Vision is regularly 20/40 or better after surgery.
  • It is a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Discomfort is generally minor, with any pain dissipating quickly.
  • It has fewer complications, such as hazy vision from corneal eye integrity being compromised.

Cons of LASIK:

  • Dry eyes are a common side effect.
  • Complications involving the corneal flap can occur.
  • The flap can become dislodged if bumped or in the event of head trauma prior to healing.

Pros of LASEK:

  • It can be used for thin corneas.
  • Dry eyes are less common.
  • Risks for corneal flap complications and removal of too much of the outer cornea are nonexistent.
  • Vision can become 20/40 or better after surgery.

Cons of LASEK:

  • It has a longer healing time of three to five days, and it can take longer for vision to clear.
  • Pain and discomfort can linger for a few days.
  • There is a risk for compromised corneal structure, creating haze.

Reference:

LASIK and LASEK: Which Is Better in 2019?

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