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What is LASEK eye surgery?
LASEK (laser assisted epithelial keratomileusis) is a type of laser eye surgery, often used as an alternative treatment for those who are not suitable for LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK is generally the preferred laser eye treatment by most, as visual recovery with LASEK can be slower, and bandage lenses need to be worn for up to a week. The eye can also be uncomfortable for a few days after treatment. However, not everyone is suitable for LASIK, for instance if your corneas are too thin or flat for LASIK treatment, and, therefore, LASEK eye surgery may be able to offer a great alternative.
How does LASEK work?
The treatment involves the fine surface layer of the cornea being loosened and folded back, instead of a flap being created and removed, as is the case with LASIK treatment. An Excimer laser is then used to reshape the surface of the cornea, thus correcting the eye’s refractive error.
The surface layer of the cornea is then returned to its original place which allows it to act as a natural plaster during the healing process. A bandage contact lens is then placed over the eye to protect it as it heals.
Benefits of LASEK eye surgery:
- Great alternative to LASIK treatment
- Results are proven and comparable to LASIK
- Less chance of dry eye
- Lower risk of flap complications
- Sporting activities may be resumed sooner than with LASIK, as there is no flap to heal
LASEK eye surgery from Optegra
One of our experienced ophthalmologists will carry out an in-depth assessment to determine whether you should have LASEK or LASIK eye surgery. This will be the same surgeon that carries out the treatment and the aftercare. We always put together a 100 per cent individually tailored plan, ensuring the best possible results.
What happens during LASEK eye surgery
- Local anaesthetic eye drops are applied to both eyes.
- A mild ethanol solution is applied to the cornea’s protective outer layer. This softens the layer and creates a thin epithelial layer, which the surgeon then moves to one side.
- The Excimer laser is applied to the eye, correcting the refractive error by reshaping the cornea.
- The eyes are covered with bandage lenses, which are clear, soft contact lenses. This protects the epithelial cells while they grow back to cover the cornea. The bandage will stay in place for up to a week, depending on how quickly the eye heals.
LASEK recovery process
Bandage contact lenses will be fitted to the eyes which will be removed during a post-surgery check-up. Although the eyes may feel uncomfortable for a few days after LASEK surgery, it is important not to touch them during the recovery period.
Avoiding any additional eye strain is recommended in the days following surgery, so taking time off of work, staying home and not exposing your eyes to potential sources of strain are recommended. You will likely attend a follow-up exam just a few days after your LASEK surgery to assess how your eyes are healing.
Other laser eye surgery options
As well as LASEK eye surgery, at Optegra, we also offer other laser eye treatments, including:
- LASIK eye surgery
- ReLEx SMILE eye surgery
Click the links above to learn more about each type of laser eye surgery available. If you would like to book a consultation to find out what type of laser eye surgery would be best for you, please contact us.
Not all of our treatments require laser eye surgery. Implantable Contact Lenses, or ICL (also known as Implantable Collamer Lens) require no removal of corneal tissue and work by placing a soft lens in between the iris and the natural lens. Find out more about ICL here.
Although LASEK surgery is permanent, with less than 5% of people who have laser eye surgery requiring any further surgeries in their lifetime, the natural aging process can still cause vision to alter. Conditions such as short-sightedness have been known to return in some patients, however very few people ever require more than one treatment of LASEK eye surgery. Most patients, a decade after having LASEK surgery, present with 20/25 vision in tests.
Although pain is relative, we advise that patients may feel mild to moderate pain after LASEK surgery. We can help patients prepare for this and offer anti-inflammatory eye drops, anaesthetic eye drops and also pain killing tablets to ease any pain during LASEK recovery. By proactively managing any pain that may be experienced, many patients report discomfort after LASEK eye surgery being nowhere near as unpleasant as they had expected.
Although they have the same outcomes, LASEK and PRK differ slightly in their procedures. Both procedures remove the epithelium layer in order to access the corneal tissues. However, LASEK surgery replaces this layer once the procedure is complete, whereas PRK discards this layer which encourages a new epithelium layer to grow back in the days following surgery. Because of this reason the recovery time is generally longer for PRK compared to LASEK eye surgery.
The value of LASEK eye surgery is a very personal thing. People have a wide variety of reasons for wanting to improve their vision and no longer requiring corrective eyewear or contact lenses. Varying lifestyles, interests and priorities will impact the importance of surgery for each patient. One of the quickest ways to ascertain if LASEK surgery would be valuable to you is by speaking to a professional who can advise you best. We offer free virtual consultations which can be booked in under a minute.
A successful LASEK surgery would eliminate any need to wear contact lenses after it takes place. Bandage contact lenses will be fitted by the optometrist to protect your eyes during the LASEK recovery period, but these are the only kind of contacts needed after LASEK surgery. Many years after LASEK surgery, if vision alters due to the natural aging process, contact lenses are still an option as corrective wear.
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By Author: Amir Hamid
Mr. Amir Hamid is our Medical Director for Vision Correction and an expert refractive surgeon, based in London.
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