At Laser Vision Delaware, we often get patients who come in seeking LASIK surgery. Unfortunately, this just is not a great match for all of our patients, but for many people, they are a good fit with LASEK! It might sound funny to say that LASIK won’t work for you, but LASEK will, and while they sound the same, and the outcomes of the procedures are very similar, there are some key differences between the two.
LASEK stands for Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis. It utilizes a laser to help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism. While both LASIK and LASEK utilize a laser to reshape the eye, the procedures vary in how they get this done.
The first step in the common LASIK procedure is to cut a small flap into the outer layer of the eyeball and then to reshape the eye. The other procedure, LASEK, does not have to cut as deep into the eye and only removes the outer layers of skin (the epithelial tissue). This means that LASEK can be a great option for patients who otherwise would not be a candidate for other laser-assisted vision procedures.
The first step of a LASEK procedure is to make a small incision on the top outer layer of the cornea. Then a special solution is placed on the eye for approximately thirty seconds. This helps to loosen the upper layer of skin, which is then folded to one side. The laser is then used to reshape the stroma or the middle layer of the cornea. Once the stroma has been properly shaped, the epithelium can be replaced and allowed to heal. The results are a clear vision without the need for corrective lenses!
While both LASIK and LASEK are considered safe and effective treatment options, patients with LASEK report better long-term results. In addition, even though discomfort after either surgery is relatively minor, patients also report less discomfort during the healing process from LASEK. Doctors have also reported fewer instances of infection and corneal haze following the LASEK procedure than the LASIK approach.
There are some patients who cannot have LASIK surgery because they have thin, flat, or irregularly shaped corneas. Because LASEK does not cut deeply into the tissue of the cornea, it can be a great fit for many patients who could not have other corrective surgeries.
Some additional considerations are the effects of LASEK on dry eye syndrome. Some patients have faster recovery of the corneal nerves in the eye.
Because these nerves have a role in the body’s response to lubricating the eyes, there is less frequency of dry eyes in patients who have received the LASEK surgery rather than LASIK. This is a common complaint from patients who are just recovering from a LASIK surgery. Finally, there is some concern for LASIK of cutting irregular flaps during the procedure. The approach that LASEK uses can avoid this entirely offering an additional benefit of this surgery.
The biggest disadvantage of the LASEK approach is an increased healing time than compared to LASIK. However, this healing time is not significantly longer and is often not a major factor when patients decide which approach to take. Additionally, if you were not a good candidate for LASIK, this may be the only solution available to you!
LASEK can be an option for most patients who are seeking corrective vision surgery, and the only option for some people who could not have LASIK. However, if you are considering one of these approaches, it is best to work with your doctor to understand how each approach might affect you.
If you are considering corrective vision surgery in Wilmington, Delaware, contact Laser Vision Delaware today. We can schedule a consultation to review your case and help you understand all of the options that will suit your needs.