LASEK is a technique in which the excimer laser is used to alter the surface of the cornea to correct myopia (short-sightedness or near-sightedness) without the need to cut a flap.
LASEK surgery involves softening the outer layer of the eye (know as the corneal epithelium). The epithelium is then carefully folded away from the middle corneal layer to allow the laser treatment to be applied. As with LASIK the amount of treatment given depends upon your individual prescription.
Following treatment the epithelium is replaced to allow healing that is quicker and more comfortable than the original PRK procedure, but takes longer than LASIK. At the end of the procedure a soft contact lens known as a ‘bandage lens’ is fitted on the corneal surface. This has a dual role of protecting the corneal epithelium while it heals, and also reduces but does not eliminate discomfort. The bandage lens stays in place for up to a week, depending on how quickly your eye heals.Following LASEK, the improved vision is not appreciated until the epithelium has fully healed, usually in about a week. The eye may also be uncomfortable over this time and for the first day or two may be painful.
Although the vast majority of patients achieve outstanding results without complications, it should not be forgotten that LASEK is however a surgical procedure. As with all surgical procedures there are risks associated with treatment. One particular risk associated with LASEK is that of “Haze”, or an aggressive healing response. Where appropriate, we would aim to use a potent anti-scarring agent (applied at a very low concentration and for a very short duration) to reduce the chances of “Haze” occurring.
LASEK may be the preferred procedure for some patients with low refractive errors, thin corneas and specific lifestyle issues. At Face & Eye we will discuss whether or not LASEK is a suitable procedure for you during your assessment with us.