A Comprehensive Guide on LASEK Eye Surgery Procedure

25 Oct 2012

If you have failed qualifying for LASIK surgery, you must have heard about another procedure LASEK. LASEK stands for Laser-Assisted-Epithelial-Keratomileusis which focuses towards treating photorefractive errors in a sophisticated way. LASIK, PRK and LASEK are three major procedures being practiced across the world for correcting vision problems. These all are operated by LASER and don't involve any invasive operation.

Who should get LASEK eye surgery procedure instead of other procedures like LASIK and PRK?

The advanced LASEK procedure can treat cases like short eye problems, long eye problems and astigmatism. Though the procedure is costly, time consuming and features longer recover phase, surgeons have to opt for this in certain cases. People who have ultra thin epithelial layer over cornea require this process instead of LASIK or PRK.

Basic difference between LASIK, PRK and LASEK procedures

Though these procedures intend to do the same thing, the procedures have some major differences and hence work in different methods.

In LASIC (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) surgery, a small tool named microkeratome or special LASER is used to prepare a thick flap of corneal epithelium. The flap is lifted up and then LASER ray is passed for reshaping the eyeballs to correct the refractive errors. Once done, the flap is placed on the cornea and the natural bandage helps in quicker recovery. The procedure also involves less side effects and post-operative complications.

In PRK (Photo Refractive keratectomy), no machine or LASER incisions are given at all. During this procedure, the ray passes directly on the cornea. In this procedure, the outermost thin layer of epithelium is removed completely and later allowed to grow back to the previous position.

In LASEK eye surgery procedure (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis), surgeons lift the thinner epithelial lining of the cornea carefully. This procedure is actually a combination of the conventional procedures, i.e. LASIK and PRK. During this procedure, a special tool named trephine is used to lift up the thinner flap. But the flap is not completely removed; it's just replaced to get the LASER ray pass into the cornea. Once the eyeballs are shaped accordingly, the epithelial flap is reinstituted. As the thin flap fails to grow again, surgeons recommend undergoing the procedure instead of others.

How an ophthalmic surgeon operates LASEK: steps explained

  1. First, LASEK preparation is taken by applying anaesthetic drugs
  2. Surface adjustment is done by using a special tool known as trephine
  3. Corneal reshaping is performed. During this procedure, LASER ray is applied on the eyeballs & they are reshaped accordingly to treat refractive problems and astigmatism
  4. Surface repositioning is operated by restituting the ultra thin epithelial flap in its original position
  5. In this phase, a pair of bandage contact lens is placed accordingly on the eyes. This phase denotes LASEK completion and resolves ocular discomforts.

How much does LASEK cost: estimation and price ranges

Depending on the extent of eye-errors and procedures, the costs of LASEK may vary. For plus or minus 1 error in eyesight, the prices are lower, i.e. standard LASEK costs £295 and for wavefront LASEK the price is £995, whereas the prices are respectively £995 and £1495 in cases of severe refractive errors.

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