Lasik Q & A

LASEK is a No-Flap Procedure Used Mostly For Thin Corneas

LASEK, otherwise known as Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis, is a surgical corrective eye procedure technique that was created in order to address issues that arose with other types of eye surgeries. Though some risks are involved, there are a number of additional benefits that are associated with LASEK procedures. In addition, patients that are unable to undergo LASIK eye procedures may instead qualify for LASEK.

The LASEK procedure can be used to correct vision in those who cannot undergo LASIK type surgeries because they have thin or flat corneas. During the LASEK procedure the top layer of cells located on top of the cornea, known as the epithelial layer, is removed using a trephine blade; the trephine blade allows a much finer cut than blades used in other types of eye surgeries. Once the initial cut on the epithelial layer is complete, the surgeon will cover the eye with a diluted alcohol solution for approximately 30 seconds; the alcohol solution loosens the epithelial layer allowing the surgeon to take a small instrument shaped like a hoe to raise the edge of the epithelial flap and fold it out of the way. The next process uses the excimer laser procedure used in LASIK and PRK surgeries to shape the corneal tissue and correct vision. Once the cornea is shaped, the epithelial layer is placed back on the eye and allowed to heal.

LASEK is also known as a no-flap procedure. This term can be confusing because the ‘flap’ of epithelial cells is folded back; however the term ‘no-flap procedure’ refers to the fact that there is no permanent flap created in the deep corneal layers as with LASIK surgery. LASEK is also sometimes confused with PRK eye surgery. During PRK surgery the same procedures are followed as in LASEK, but the epithelial layer is not replaced and the eye slowly grows a new one over time. Sometimes a LASEK procedure becomes a PRK procedure when the surgeon cannot save the epithelial layer that was removed.

While LASEK procedures are beneficial to people who are unable to have LASIK type surgeries, there are additional benefits as well. The finer cut of LASEK heals quicker than with other procedures; a faster healing time results in a quick recovery time. If you have been denied as a candidate for LASIK surgery, talk with your eye doctor about the possibility of undergoing LASEK surgery to correct your vision.

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