LASIK Vs LASEK : Which one is better?
(laser-Assisted in situ keratomileusis) refers to creating a flap in the cornea
with a microkeratome (a surgical device that is affixed to the eye by use of a
vacuum ring. When secured, a very sharp blade cuts a layer of the cornea at a
predetermined depth) and using a laser to reshape the underlying cornea.
LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) on the other hand is a hybrid of
photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK),
the goal of LASEK is the preservation of the corneal epithelium. Rather than
creating a flap with a microkeratome (as in LASIK) or scraping and removing the
patientís epithelium (as in PRK), LASEK treats the epithelium with alcohol to
loosen and separate it from the stroma and it is then rolled back.
Both surgeries employ lasers to cut flaps in the cornea and rectify the shape.
Main difference Between LASIK and LASEK is thickness of the flap which
includes corneal stroma tissue in LASIK and only epithelial tissue in LASEK.
LASEK procedure is ideal for people who have corneas too thin for LASIK. The
incision heals faster than the incision made for LASIK, though it takes longer
for good vision to return.
A recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago researchers report there
were only minor differences in the results of both types of procedures. The
slight differences in the visual and refractive results came out in favor of
LASEK, though the researchers report these differences would not be obvious to a
patient. Both procedures seem safe, effective, and predictable.
The findings are published in the current issue (Dec 2006) of American Journal
The LASEK Procedure
LASEK, the epithelium, or outer layer of the
cornea, is cut
not with the microkeratome cutting tool used in LASIK, but with a finer blade
called a trephine. Then the surgeon covers the eye with an alcohol solution
(perhaps one part alcohol and four parts sterile water) for around 30 seconds.
The solution loosens the edges of the epithelium.
After sponging the alcohol solution from the eye, the surgeon uses a tiny hoe to
lift the edge of the epithelial flap and gently fold it back out of the way.
Then he or she uses an excimer laser, as in LASIK or PRK, to sculpt the corneal
tissue underneath. Afterward, the epithelial flap is placed back on the eye with
a kind of spatula.
Advantages of LASEK Laser Eye Surgery
LASEK surgery includes several advantages, including:
Complications associated with cutting and reattaching the flap in the
cornea are avoided.
LASEK laser eye surgery causes
less frequently than LASIK laser eye surgery.
Disadvantages of LASEK Laser Eye Surgery
Disadvantages of LASEK laser eye surgery include:
Longer visual recovery time compared to LASIK laser eye surgery. Many
LASEK patients will not fully recover functional vision for 1 to 2 weeks
while their eye heals, which is similar to the healing time experienced in
PRK laser eye surgery. LASIK laser eye surgery patients often have good
vision by the day after surgery.
LASEK laser eye surgery may cause more pain and discomfort than LASIK ,
but less pain than PRK laser eye surgery. Most LASEK laser eye surgery
patients say the discomfort lasts about 2 days or less.
Patients need to wear a "bandage
contact lens" for about 3 or 4 days
after LASEK laser eye surgery to serve as a protective layer between your
blinking eyelids and the treated eye surface, which is not necessary after
Patients must use topical steroid drops for several weeks longer than
that used after LASIK laser eye surgery.