Both Lasik and Lasek are eye surgeries done using laser. Both have the same risks, and both also have a good success rate. Patients with eye disorders and problems have to consult an experienced and reliable surgeon who will study the eye composition and decide whether to perform a Lasik eye operation or a Lasek one. The main consideration while choosing the mode of operation is the thickness of the cornea. There are a few differences between the two.
There are subtle differences between a Lasik eye surgery and a Lasek eye surgery.
While Lasik is Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis meaning that the procedure is done in the place itself, Lasek is Laser Assisted Sub Epithelial Keratomileusis meaning that it is done below the epithelium. Both Lasik and Lasek are procedures used to correct certain problems of the eye like myopia (short sight), long sight and astigmatism. There is not much difference in the time needed for the operation as both can be done within a minute for each eye, though the whole procedure may last for fifteen minutes. Both are outpatient procedures and need no hospitalization.
In the Lasik procedure a microkeratome knife is used and the epithelium and stroma are cut to 100-180 microns. Alcohol in diluted form is used to separate and lift the epithelium and a flap is created. In Lasek procedure the epithelium is cut only at a thickness of 50 microns while the stroma is left uncut. A finer blade is used in this method as compared to the Lasik method and the corneal tissue under the epithelial flap is treated. Here too alcohol is used to raise the epithelium. However the biggest difference between the two is in the difference in the thickness of the flap and the stroma tissue which is treated in Lasik while Lasek only treats the epithelial tissue of the eye.
There is a some difference in the recovery period The Lasek patient can become normal within a day or two, drive within three days and has the required vision in a couple of months. The healing here is faster. In a Lasik surgery patient, the flap heals within a day but he can drive only after about a week and the recovery is slightly longer than if he had a Lasek operation.
Lasik procedure is suitable for people who have more corneal tissue. There is no pain and less discomfort than in the Lasek procedure. They have an immediately clear vision and there may not be any corneal haze. In Lasek patients’ people generally have less corneal tissue but it is preserved more. There are no complications of stromal flap and there is less risk of dry eyes as compared with the Lasek patient.
There are some risks in both these surgeries. The flap may get dislodged with trauma or there may be scars which may need post operative treatment in about 5 percent of patients. The remaining ninety five may have no complaints and can lead normal lives as soon as possible. The happy part is that there have been no cases reported of any patient losing his eyesight after laser treatment.
As always, there are eye exercises or Pencil Pushups which can be performed prior to the operation. Due to recent advances in laser technology, laser eye surgery is generally a safe procedure. That said, there are some side-effects and Complications of laser eye surgery which are rare, but you need to be aware of them.