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Eye Health Center

LASEK Eye Surgery

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How Do I Know If LASEK Eye Surgery Is for Me?

LASEK eye surgery may be better for patients who have steep or very thin corneas, which make it difficult for the surgeon to make a proper LASIK flap. Since traumatic injury to the eye is more serious after LASIK than after LASEK eye surgery, patients who engage in professional or leisure activities that put their eyes at increased risk for injury (such as boxing) may be better suited for LASEK. LASEK eye surgery is better for people with dry eye syndrome because in avoiding a deeper flap, the corneal nerves responsible for the tearing reflex are not cut.

How Do I Prepare for LASEK Laser Eye Surgery?

Before your LASEK laser eye surgery you will meet with an eye surgeon or a coordinator who will discuss what you should expect during and after the laser eye surgery. During this session your medical history will be evaluated and your eyes will be tested. Likely tests include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, corneal mapping, eye pressure, and pupil dilation. Once you have gone through your evaluation your surgeon will answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, you can schedule an appointment for the procedure.

If you wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you should not wear them for three weeks before your evaluation. Other types of contact lenses shouldn't be worn for at least three days prior to the evaluation. 

On the day of your LASEK laser eye surgery, eat a light meal before going to the doctor, and take all of your prescribed medications. Do not wear eye makeup or have any bulky accessories in your hair that will interfere with positioning your head under the laser. If you do not feel well that morning, call the doctor's office to determine whether the procedure needs to be postponed.

What Happens During LASEK Eye Surgery?

LASEK eye surgery is done under a topical anesthesia placed directly into the eye. During the procedure, the top layer of cells, or epithelium, is treated with alcohol for about 30 seconds and detached from the underlying tissue. It is then lifted or rolled back so that the eye doctor can access the cornea tissue. The newly exposed tissue is treated with the same laser used in LASIK eye surgery and PRK. Then the top layer of cells is replaced.

This is in contrast to LASIK eye surgery, in which a laser or cutting device makes a flap in the cornea. LASEK eye surgery differs from PRK by preserving the top layer of cells, rather than scraping them away and waiting for them to grow back. This is believed to facilitate healing of the cornea with less discomfort than PRK.

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