You may have seen the words LASIK and LASEK and thought that one was a misspelling. Or perhaps you thought that, like gray and grey, they were simply two spellings of the same procedure. In fact, they are two different procedures—while they are both laser-based surgeries used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism, they have different benefits and drawbacks. With an organ as delicate as the eye, it’s important to know which is which to make sure you sign up for the surgery that’s right for you. Read on to learn about the differences between the LASEK and LASIK surgery procedure.
What’s the Difference?
To understand the pros and cons, first you should understand the gist of the procedures; just what is LASIK eye surgery? If your doctor thinks laser surgery is the right choice for you, LASIK is probably the first thing that they’ll think of. It involves reshaping the cornea, which is the transparent part of the front of the eye. Using a laser-based surgical tool, the surgeon creates a “flap” on the eye’s surface, then folds the flap back to reshape the corneal tissue using an excimer laser. (There’s no need to cringe—the eye is numbed for this and the process is painless.) Then the flap serves as a bandage while the eye heals.
The difference is that flap. In LASEK, a much thinner flap is used and pushed to the side, and then replaced at the end of the procedure. A bandaged contact lens assists the healing.
LASIK’s major claim to fame is that recovery is more comfortable, and often quicker, than LASEK. As such, many patients are quick to opt for it.
LASIK surgery, however, is not for everyone. If you have a thin cornea, it’s better to use the thinner-flap approach of LASEK. LASEK also typically involves fewer complications, such as dry eyes, that come from LASIK surgery. Finally, the LASIK surgery procedure is riskier if you are myopic or if your work or hobbies put your eyes’ health at risk. For anyone who falls under these categories, the less pleasant recovery of LASEK surgery is still worth the tradeoffs.
If you’re still not sure, ask! Dr. Rosa not only has going on three decades of experience, he still practices his surgical skills and bedside manner today. If there’s anything about laser-eye surgery that you’re still not certain about, rest assured that he and his staff can get you the answers you need to make the choice that’s best for you.