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What’s the difference between LASIK and LASEK eye surgery?

Published on 18th October 2017 by Dr Stephen Doyle

At the Visualase Laser Eye Surgery Clinic in Bolton, we perform two types of laser eye surgery - LASIK and LASEK. In this article we explain the difference between the two procedures, and why you may be more suitable to have one treatment than the other.

Laser eye surgery at the Visualase clinic in Bolton.

Laser eye surgery at the Visualase clinic in Bolton.

LASIK

LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) is by far the most popular treatment due to the speed of visual recovery. In LASIK, an instrument called a microkeratome is used by one of our experienced laser eye surgeons to form a thin corneal flap on the surface of the eye which is thinner than a human hair.

The surgeon then uses our SCHWIND AMARIS 500E - which perfectly combines efficiency and safety - to apply the treatment to the exposed corneal tissue and then the flap is repositioned. The amount of corneal tissue removed will be determined by your pre-op consultation and assessment.

The cornea has amazing bonding properties and almost immediately the flap adheres to the underlying tissue and begins to heal.

LASIK is used to correct short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.

LASEK

LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) is a cross between photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and LASIK (see above) in which the surface layer of cells, known as the epithelium, are displaced rather than creating a flap.

The laser treatment is applied and the displaced epithelial ‘flap’ is then put back in place and a plain contact lens put on the eye to help with the healing process.

This contact lens stays in place until we remove it approximately three / four days later.

Which type of laser eye surgery is best for me?

We believe it is important for you to have a consultation with the actual laser eye surgeon who will ultimately treat you. During this free consultation and assessment the treatment options will be discussed and, based on a number of factors including your prescription, it will be decided either to go with LASIK or LASEK.

In addition to the information outlined above, below is a direct comparison between the two treatments:

 LASIKLASEK
Return to useful vision1-2 days4-7 days
Post-op discomfort1-8 hours (if any) 2-3 days
Time off work1-2 days3-4 days
Myopia (short-sightedness)Up to -10.00DUp to -10.00D
Hyperopia (long-sightedness)Up to +6.00DUp to +6.00D
AnaestheticEye dropsEye drops
Treatment time10 mins per eye10 mins per eye
Both eyes treated togetherYes Maybe
Steroid eye drops1 weekUp to 6 weeks


If you would like to make an appointment or discuss laser eye surgery please either call us on 01204 387467 or contact us.