Like LASIK, LASEK is a refractive laser vision correction procedure designed to address the vision abnormalities of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. But instead of having the corneal flap created with Bladeless IntraLase (other practices may use a handheld microkeratome), the epithelium is loosened in a different process with the use of alcohol. Then, Dr. Huynh uses the VISX STAR S4 laser to treat the corneal surface only, as opposed to the internal cornea which is treated during LASIK. The flap is then replaced and allowed to heal itself as in LASIK. Both LASIK and LASEK have rapid healing times and rapid visual recovery, however post-operative discomfort is a bit higher in LASEK than in LASIK.
LASEK resembles PRK because both procedures are considered corneal ablation procedures – meaning they both treat the surface of the cornea only, as opposed to the internal cornea reshaped in the LASIK procedure. In PRK and LASEK, less corneal tissue is removed than during LASIK. In PRK, the epithelium is removed entirely and is not replaced as in LASEK and LASIK. PRK is similar to LASEK also in that a microkeratome is not required, as the epithelial cells are loosened with alcohol. Visual recovery with PRK is slower than LASEK.
LASEK may be a good solution for those who have abnormalities which may pose added risk during LASIK – such as thin or flat corneas. Patients with dry eye syndrome may be recommended for LASEK also.
LASEK is not a treatment for presbyopia or cataracts, and patients with these problems should consider intraocular lenses. LASIK will also not prevent these conditions which are common in men and women over 40. The goal of LASEK is to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism with corneal reshaping. Some patients will require reading glasses to combat presbyopia or for specific activities like night driving.
Patients should be aware that all refractive vision procedures carry some risks. Complications are rare, but surgical patients will face risk of infection, night glare, halos, and poor clarity. Dr. Huynh will discuss all risks with you during your personal consultation.
Learn more about LASEK and other laser vision correction procedures. If you are in San Diego, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, or Scripps Ranch, call or email Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc., today for your free consultation with Dr. Huynh and his experienced eye care team.