Terminologies such as LASIK and LASEK are medical jargon that often confuse us. Though these terms might sound similar, they are quite different from one another. LASEK and LASIK are laser eye corrective surgical processes that are used to correct certain eye issues such as astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. Here, excimer lasers are used to ablate and reshape the cornea, thus correcting vision.
Patients who can’t undergo the procedure of LASIK can always opt for LASEK surgery. All you need to do is get in touch with an eye doctor and appear for a comprehensive eye test- they will evaluate your vision health and suggest the best types of procedure.
In this blog, we will learn the meaning of LASIK and LASEK along with the differences between them. Stay tuned with us till the end!
What Is LASIK Treatment?
LASIK surgery is the most common type of eye surgery- here, the cornea is reshaped to fix long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism. LASIK surgery is pain-free and the overall process takes around 15 minutes.
Before the process begins, the surgeon will numb your eyes using an anaesthetic drop. After that, they will use two types of laser- one of them is a femtosecond laser. It is used to create a protective thin flap in your cornea. While undergoing this process, you can experience some amount of pressure which lasts for less than a minute.
After Effect of LASIK Treatment
After you are done with the LASIK treatment (Laser in-situ keratomileusis), you might experience 4 to 6 hours of discomfort. Follow everything that your surgeon says regarding medication or aftercare- ensure to have proper rest and limit your screen time for the initial 24 hours. You can get your hands on protective glasses for optimum protection (your surgeon will guide you through thick and thin).
Also, you won’t be able to drive after going through this LASIK eye surgery. So, if you are driving to the appointment in the first place, remember to take someone else with you who will be able to drive you back home. Take adequate rest and start driving your car once you get a green signal from your surgeon.
What Is LASEK Treatment?
LASEK treatment (Laser-Assisted Subepithelial Keratectomy), on the other hand, is a surface laser treatment that takes place on your cornea’s surface. Patients dealing with corneas or various other medical conditions can choose to undergo the process of LASEK eye surgery.
Again, an eye-drop anaesthetic is used to make the overall process absolutely painless. Also, the surgeon uses dilute alcohol in order to loosen the epithelium (top skin layer of your eyes)- the surgeon then brushes it off. When compared to LASIK, LASEK treatment only involves the excimer laser to reshape your corneal tissue. The process takes approximately 10 minutes. After completion, your surgeon will provide you with a special contact lens to boost your comfort level and make you feel relieved during the recovery process.
After Effect of LASEK Treatment
Right after the treatment is over, you might face sensitivity to light or moderate discomfort. Don’t worry, your surgeon will prescribe tablets and painkilling drops so that you can feel at ease. Apart from that, you also need to take steroid drops and antibiotics, thus having a speedy recovery.
While your vision might seem to be blurry in the initial days, it will improve with proper care. You need to adhere to everything that is suggested by your LASEK surgeon- that’s it. The LASEK recovery process takes quite a few weeks- don’t drive (similar to LASIK eye surgery) and ensure to take appropriate rest.
What Are the Differences Between LASIK and LASEK?
Ruling out the differences between LASIK and LASEK treatment in a table format- take a quick look now:
|Differences||LASIK Eye Surgery||LASEK Eye Surgery|
|Procedure||A flap is created and folded back in the cornea. After that, the reshaping of the cornea takes place with the help of a laser. The flap is repositioned after that.||Alcohol is used to loosen the cornea’s epithelial layer. A laser is used to reshape the cornea. In the end, the epithelial layer is moved back to place.|
|Recovery Time||Recovery time in LASIK treatment is faster. You can experience vision improvement right within a day.||Recovery time in LASEK treatment is longer when compared to LASEK eye surgery. It can take nearly 7 days for the vision to stabilise and eyes to heal.|
|Pain During Recovery||LASIK eye surgery has minimal pain during recovery.||In LASEK eye surgery, you can feel some pain and discomfort while recovering.|
|Risk of Complications||Flap complications can be one of the risk factors, though they are rare. However, one common side effect typically includes dry eyes.||Here, flap complications don't take place. But, there’s a higher risk of scarring or haze. Similar to LASIK treatment, dry eyes are a common side effect here as well.|
|Suitability||It is less suitable for every individual with dry eyes, thin cornea or anyone who is involved in contact sports.||LASEK eye surgery is a great option for people with dry eyes, thin cornea or contact sports participants.|
What Are the Pros and Cons of LASIK and LASEK Treatment?
Now, it’s time to gain valuable insights related to the pros and cons of both LASIK and LASEK treatment. Let’s dig deeper:
Advantages of LASIK Eye Surgery:
- Vision gets better or 20/40 after this surgery.
- Healing time in LASIK treatment is faster- it takes nearly 24 hours.
- Pain dissipates in no time.
- Minimally invasive process.
- Fewer complications such as hazy vision.
Disadvantages of LASIK Eye Surgery:
- The corneal flap (this flap is created in your cornea’s topmost layer during LASIK surgery) is a complication that can take place in this surgical procedure.
- If the flap is dislodged, it can eventually become bumped.
Advantages of LASEK Eye Surgery:
- Dry eyes are not that common in LASEK eye surgery.
- People with thin corneas can opt for this treatment option.
- Vision becomes better or 20/40 after surgery.
- Corneal flap complications are nonexistent.
Disadvantages of LASEK Eye Surgery:
- Discomfort and pain can bother you for quite a few days.
- Healing time is longer.
- Compromised corneal structure often paves the way toward creating haze.
How Can You Choose Between the Two Procedures?
Both these procedures- LASIK and LASEK, are similar and provide the same result. They correct your vision and reshape the cornea by using laser technology. Seek professional guidance from an ophthalmologist and they will help you choose the best option.
First of all, the laser eye surgeons will determine the refractive eye correction surgery by conducting an assessment. For instance, if you have thin corneas, they will suggest LASEK treatment since it is a better option. Also, LASEK eye surgery is optimal for nearsightedness and myopia.
Eye surgeons can also prefer LASEK or LASIK treatment based on their expertise in a given field. Contact your ophthalmologist and make an informed decision after having a word with these experts.