With over 14 million people in the US experiencing some type of vision impairment, more people are turning to eye surgery than ever before. LASEK eye surgery is a variation of PRK to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. LASEK combines certain methods from both LASIK and PRK.
LASEK eye surgery
LASEK eye surgery is done under a topical anesthesia placed directly into the eye. During the procedure, the top layer of cells, or epithelium, it is then lifted or rolled back so that the eye doctor can access the cornea tissue. Then the top layer of cells is put into place. The flap created by LASEK eye surgery heals in about four to seven days, and the patient usually wears a special contact lens that acts as a bandage for up to four days after surgery. for LASEK eye surgery this may take as long as a week. You will revisit the doctor for an evaluation the day after LASEK eye surgery, and commonly one week and three months after surgery.
This is of particular importance if you have a naturally thin cornea that makes you a less-than-ideal LASIK candidate.
Essential tips before LASEK eye surgery
- Your eye surgeon will perform a thorough eye exam and general health check to see if you are a suitable candidate for LASEK eye surgery. Many eye surgeons will recommend LASEK only if you are not suited to LASIK eye surgery.
- If you wear contact lenses, your doctor typically will instruct you to stop wearing them for a period of time before taking measurements for laser eye surgery as contacts can change the natural shape of your cornea.
- As you won’t be able to drive yourself home from the surgery, you’ll need to arrange someone to drive you.
Advantages of LASEK Eye Surgery
LASEK surgery is said to have several advantages, including:
- Complications associated with creating and reattaching the flap in the cornea are avoided.
- LASEK eye surgery causes dry eye less frequently than LASIK eye surgery.
- In LASEK eye surgery, various techniques are used to retain the very thin corneal surface layer of cells (epithelium) that is used to recover the cornea after the laser sculpting is performed. With LASIK, a thicker flap is created using a laser or mechanical device (microkeratome) under which the laser sculpting is done.
Disadvantages of LASEK Eye Surgery
- Longer visual recovery time compared to LASIK eye surgery. Many LASEK patients will not fully recover functional vision for at least one to two weeks while their eye heals, which is similar to the healing time experienced in PRK eye surgery. LASIK patients often have good vision by the day after surgery.
- LASEK eye surgery usually causes more pain and discomfort than LASIK , but possibly less pain than PRK surgery.
- Patients need to wear a “bandage contact lens” for about three or four days after LASEK eye surgery to serve as a protective layer between your blinking eyelids and the treated eye surface, which is not necessary after LASIK.
- Patients must use topical steroid drops for several weeks longer than after LASIK eye surgery.
What You Need to Know About LASEK