The Cleveland Clinic

LASEK laser eye surgery

Introduction to LASEK laser eye surgery

LASEK laser eye surgery is a newer surgery that combines many of the benefits of older vision correction surgeries, explain doctors at The Cleveland Clinic.

Laser epithelial keratomileusis, or LASEK, combines benefits of the two most commonly performed procedures -- LASIK and PRK. LASEK laser eye surgery is used to treat astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.

In LASEK laser eye surgery, 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 and a 20% alcohol solution.

What Are the Advantages of LASEK Laser Eye Surgery?

  • Complications associated with cutting and reattaching the flap in the cornea are avoided.
  • LASEK laser eye surgery causes dry eye less frequently than LASIK laser eye surgery.

What Are the Disadvantages of LASEK Laser Eye Surgery?

  • 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 LASIK.
  • Patients must use topical steroid drops for several weeks longer than that used after LASIK laser eye surgery.

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