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LASEK (pronounced “Lay-SEEK”) stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis. It is a technique for reshaping corneal tissue. It can help you see better without glasses or corrective lenses. The epithelium (top layer of cornea) is softened with an alcohol solution. This makes a flap in the cornea. An excimer laser is then used to reshape the corneal tissue below the flap. The excimer laser produces a concentrated beam of cool ultraviolet (UV) light. LASEK can treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (vision distortions caused by cornea irregularities).
Before treatment, you may be given medication to help you relax.
Eyedrops numb your eyes. A device is used to keep your eyes open.
An instrument with alcohol solution in it is briefly placed on the cornea. The surgeon then rolls back the softened epithelium to expose the inner corneal tissue.
Your surgeon uses a computer-guided excimer laser to reshape the cornea. Laser treatment lasts for 10–90 seconds.
The epithelium is folded back over the cornea. You will wear a contact lens as a bandage for a few days. This protects the cornea as it heals.
For a few days after the procedure, your vision may seem worse. It should begin to improve in about 5 days, and become stable in about 6 months.
Better for patients with thin corneas, previous glaucoma surgery, mild corneal scars, or other cornea problems
Possibly less postoperative discomfort, haze, regression, or corneal scarring than with PRK
Possibly faster vision recovery than with PRK
Mild to moderate pain after surgery
Longer vision recovery than LASIK
May need to use eyedrops for 3 months or longer
Risk of corneal scarring or haze
Possible temporary or permanent dry eye
Risk of night vision problems, such as halos or glare
Possible undercorrection or overcorrection
Possible loss of best corrected vision