Today, LASIK is a well-known procedure that has helped millions to improve their quality of life. However, it is not right for everyone. Fortunately, there are excellent alternatives. LASEK eye surgery may be recommended for patients with corneas that are not thick enough for LASIK surgery. At Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC, in Philadelphia, PA, your doctor can help you understand LASIK vs. LASEK so you can make an informed decision regarding the enhancement of your vision.

Treatment Duration About an hour About an hour
Tissue Flap Method Created using blade or laser Created using alcohol solution
Downtime 24 to 48 hours 5 to 7 days
In order to accommodate patients with thin corneas, LASEK employs a different method of creating the corneal tissue flap. This approach requires more downtime than LASIK.

A Closer Look

LASIK is the more popular option and accounts for approximately seven times more procedures than LASEK. The biggest difference in the way the two surgeries are performed is the thickness of the corneal flap and the way it is created. 

During LASIK, your doctor will use a laser to create a tissue flap in the outermost layer of the cornea. This grants access to the stroma, the middle layer of the cornea, which will be refined with an excimer laser. Finally, the flap is replaced to foster healing.

LASEK corrects the patient’s vision in the same way, but with a much thinner flap. During LASEK, the surgeon will loosen the outermost layer of the cornea using an alcohol solution. Once the corrections have been made, the surgeon will replace the tissue flap and place a special contact lens over the cornea to help it heal. The lens can be removed within four to five days.

If you want to minimize or eliminate your need for corrective eyewear, we can determine which type of refractive surgery is right for you.

The recovery time for LASIK is much faster, sometimes allowing patients to return to work within 24 to 48 hours with only mild discomfort. LASEK typically requires patients to take at least a five- to seven-day recovery period, with mild to moderate levels of discomfort. 

LASIK and LASEK Similarities 

For the right candidates, both LASIK and LASEK produce very similar results that can give patients 20/20 vision and minimize the need for corrective eyewear. Both eyes can generally be treated the same day and most patients see fast, if not immediate, improvement in their vision. Resting is key to recovery for both procedures. Due to the nature of these procedures, you will need to have someone available to drive you to and from the office. 

Numbing drops will wear off about a half hour after surgery. Avoid rubbing your eyes during your recovery to avoid disrupting the tissue flap. Be sure and take your medications and follow your doctor's instructions to minimize discomfort and promote faster healing. 

You may experience some sensitivity to light. Wearing a pair of sunglasses will be helpful. Restrictions during your recovery may also include limitations on exercise, swimming, and using eye makeup. Contact sports, hot tubs, and swimming pools should be avoided until your surgeon gives you clearance.

Schedule Your Appointment Today 

Exciting things are possible today through cutting-edge ophthalmology. If you want to minimize or eliminate your need for corrective eyewear, we can determine which type of refractive surgery is right for you. Contact us today online or by calling 215-794-4550 to schedule your consultation.

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