Many people have heard a lot about LASEK eye surgery at the LASIK eye center in Los Angeles, but not many people know what LASEK surgery actually is. In a nutshell, LASEK eye surgery is a variation of PRK to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.LASEK is a combination of particular methods from both LASIK and PRK.
LASIK is still the most popular laser eye procedure in Los Angeles, but for those who are not the right candidates for LASIK or PRK, LASEK can be a better option and even produce the same results as LASIK. Similar to other types of laser refractive surgery, LASEK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser. This lets light enter the eye correctly to properly focus onto the retina for clearer vision without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The essential difference in how LASIK, PRK, and LASEK are performed depends on how the eye is prepared for laser treatment:
LASIK: During the LASIK procedure at the LASIK eye center in Los Angeles, a thin circular flap is created on the eye’s surface using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser surgical tool. The eye surgeon then folds back the hinged flap to access the stroma and reshape the corneal tissue with an excimer laser. Then, the flap goes back to its original position and acts as a natural bandage, keeping the eye comfortable while it heals. The flap attaches securely without stitches, and healing happens very quickly.
PRK: During PRK, a corneal flap is not created like it is in the LASIK procedure. Instead, the surgeon completely removes the paper-thin outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium, which is a clear “skin layer” covering the cornea, by using an alcohol solution, a “buffing” tool or a blunt surgical tool. The surgeon reshapes the underlying corneal stroma with an excimer laser. Five days after the PRK procedure, a new epithelial layer grows back.
One other type of laser eye surgery worth mentioning is epi-LASIK or e-LASIK, which is almost identical to LASEK. Rather than the use of alcohol to lessen the epithelium, which is the case in LASEK, in epi-LASEK the surgeon usually uses a blunt, plastic blade to separate the epithelial sheet from the eye. This prevents the likelihood of a reaction from the alcohol, which can destroy epithelial cells.
If you are concerned about high success rates and similar vision results, LASIK, PRK, and LASEK all have high success rates. One is not better than the other in the long run, and it ultimately all depends on what the right procedure is for your eyes specifically.
Your LASIK eye surgeon in Los Angeles will let you know about the best type of laser eye surgery for your requirements after a thorough eye exam.
What’s The Difference Between LASEK vs LASIK?
At the LASIK eye center in Los Angeles, the hinged flap made in LASEK surgery is made in the epithelial layer of the eye and is much thinner than the corneal flap made in LASIK, which consists of both epithelial and deeper stromal tissues. This is important if you naturally have a thin cornea as that would not make you an ideal candidate for LASIK.
The LASEK method prevents any corneal flap related LASIK complications and reduces the possibilities of removing too much cornea with the excimer laser and weakening the structural integrity of the eye. By evading a deeper flap, there is also a smaller risk of developing dry eyes after LASEK eye surgery.
If you have severe myopia, LASEK may be a better option since myopia requires more tissue removal from the central cornea to correct the refractive error. LASEK may also be the best procedure for you if your occupation or hobbies put you at high risk of an eye injury and disturbing the corneal flap created in LASIK surgery.
What’s The Difference Between LASEK vs PRK?
LASEK is very much like PRK. Both procedures consist of lifting a very thin epithelium layer to access deeper corneal tissues, rather than creating a thicker corneal flap as in LASIK surgery.
The main difference between LASEK and PRK is that LASEK maintains and replaces the epithelial layer while in PRK the epithelium is completely removed and disposed of to enable a new epithelial layer to grow back over the next few days after surgery.
What To Expect From LASEK Eye Surgery?
When you have chosen an eye surgeon you feel comfortable with to do the procedure for you, he or she will perform a thorough eye exam and general health check to see if you are a suitable candidate for LASEK eye surgery.
If you usually wear contact lenses, your doctor will typically advise you to stop wearing them for a few days before taking the assessments for laser eye surgery since contacts can change the natural shape of your cornea.
After your surgery, you won’t be able to drive yourself home, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you. You will also have to schedule some time off of work, usually about a week in most cases, because your eyes need time to heal so your vision can start to improve.
During the surgery, numbing drops are applied to your eye. When your eye is numb, the surgeon can begin to make a circular cut in the corneal epithelium using a fine blade called a trephine.
The trephine leaves a small arc-shaped area of the circle uncut, that way the epithelial flap that is created stays attached to the eye. Then a diluted alcohol solution is put over the eye for about 30 seconds, which loosens the edges of the epithelium and helps the surgeon to carefully push the loosened flap of the epithelium to the side.
The excimer laser is placed over the eye to reshape the corneal stroma and correct the vision condition. Once the laser treatment is over, the epithelial flap is repositioned on the eye. A special contact lens that acts as a protective bandage is then put over the eye.
LASEK usually takes only 15 minutes per eye and is done on a walk-in, walk-out basis. You are awake for the procedure and you won’t feel any pain!
Consult with your refractive surgeon for the eye surgery procedure that works best for you. If you want further information about LASEK, LASIK, and PRK, give Excel Laser Vision Institute a call at + (818) 907-8606 today.