LASIK and LASEK sound practically identical, and they do share many commonalities. Both procedures are used to correct refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Both surgeries also use an advanced Excimer laser to carefully reshape your cornea, and they involve creating a flap on the cornea in order to apply treatment.
However, there is a key difference between these two surgeries. During LASIK, your corneal flap is made in both the epithelium and stroma layers of the eye, with a thickness ranging from 100 to 180 microns. During LASEK, the flap is strictly made in the epithelium layer – the thinnest, topmost layer of your cornea – to a thickness of only around 50 microns. This makes LASEK an excellent choice for patients who have very thin corneas, and may not be good candidates for LASIK based on this characteristic.
LASEK also involves a slightly longer recover period, with the potential for some post-operative discomfort. However, some side effects that are common with LASIK – such as dry eyes – are less common among LASEK patients. Finallly, LASEK involves more contraindications than LASIK. Your ophthalmologist will discuss these factors in more detail with you during a personal consultation to determine which procedure is right for you.
If you are interested in taking advantage of laser vision correction, please contact an experienced eye surgeon in your area today.