How LASEK Eye Surgery Works
Just like LASIK, LASEK eye surgery works by gently re-shaping your cornea (the clear front part of your eye) to correct your vision. By changing the shape of your cornea, which does much of your eye’s focussing, we can correct errors like long and short sightedness, and astigmatism.
However, LASEK is slightly different from LASIK, because there is no need to create a flap in the cornea first.
Surface laser treatment – no need for corneal flap
In a LASEK operation, a very thin layer of cells from the surface of the cornea (called the epithelium) is removed. This is done by applying a dilute alcohol solution to soften the surface layer, and then carefully folding it away to allow the laser vision correction to take place.
Because there is no need to create a corneal flap with LASEK, it may be a better treatment for people with very thin or steep corneas, or those with mild vision imperfections, or specific lifestyle issues. You can talk to your surgeon about this at your suitability assessment.
Ultra-precise LASEK eye surgery
At Exeter Laser Eye Surgeons, we use the same corrective or ‘excimer’ laser for LASEK surgery as we do for Z-LASIK – our advanced LASIK eye surgery. That means you can still enjoy the world-leading precision, safety and speed of our Wavefront-guided excimer laser when you opt for LASEK surgery, as opposed to LASIK.
Recovery from LASEK
After LASEK, the surface layer of the cornea is replaced, and the cornea heals naturally over a few days. A protective contact lens is placed on your eye, which helps reduce the discomfort, and protects the cornea while it heals. You’ll also be given clear protective eye shields to wear at night for the first few days, and you’ll need to plan a light schedule for around a week.
Visual recovery from LASEK takes a little longer than LASIK, but the visual results are just as good. After a LASEK operation you will only be able to see clearly once the epithelium has healed – usually in about a week.
Because the laser vision correction takes place in the more sensitive upper layers of the cornea, LASEK is generally a little more painful than LASIK. It’s quite common to feel some pain for a few days after surgery, and some discomfort for around a week. However, most people feel that the benefits of clearer vision without glasses or contacts far outweigh the drawbacks of LASEK surgery.