LASEK or Laser Eye Surgery

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LASEK - aka EPI-LASEK, laser eye surgery, LASEK surgery


What is it?

LASEK surgery is a procedure that is relatively new and is a variation of the surgery known as PRK.  Also known as epithelial LASIK or E-LASIK, LASEK is usually used for people that have corneas that are too flat or too thin for LASIK.  LASEK was developed in order to reduce the likelihood of complications that happen when the flap which is created during a LASIK procedure is not ideal in diameter or thickness.
The Operation

LASEK(Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial  Keratomileusis) This advanced form of PRK uses a solution that contains alcohol to first soften the patient’s eye, then remove the part known as the epithelium.  Once the excimer laser has reshaped the stroma in order to correct the person’s vision, the surgeon will replace the epithelium. This method is preferred over PRK due to the hastened healing process without the need to cut and create a flap for the cornea.

Epi-LASEK  This is a modified form of LASEK and uses something called a ’separator’ which preserves a living layer of the patient’s epithelium, which will be replaced after the stroma is reshaped.  This type of surgery will reduce the healing time and discomfort even more than regular LASEK.


Alternatives to surgery

If the patient is ineligible for LASEK surgery or they don’t have the money to pay for it, he or she can wear glasses.  If they don’t want to continue wearing glasses, the patient may try wearing contacts.  The contacts give the look of not wearing glasses without the hefty price.


Before the Surgery

It is important to follow any and all prescribed pre-operative instructions to ensure that the day of surgery goes smoothly. Also, it is customary that the physician will be performing a full eye exam prior to surgery and in some cases, there may be routine laboratory work performed.
After the surgery - In the hospital


LASEK is done as an outpatient surgery, so the patient will be sent home soon after the surgery is complete.  Each medical facility will have their own requirements of when the patient is allowed to be released to go home following LASEK surgery. The patient should have someone to drive them home, because they won’t see well enough yet to drive.

After the surgery - At home

The edges of the flap will heal in approximately a day, but the patient will wear the bandage contact lens for approximately four days. The patient may experience irritation in their eyes during the first one or two days after the surgery.  It also takes the patient from four to seven days to recover the clear vision in their eyes. This can vary between patients.

Possible Complications

There are a few complications that the patient might experience with this surgery, although many patients do not experience any side effects.  These complications are rare but they do happen, and include:



Possibility that the surgery won’t take, causing the eyesight to resume to its prior state

General Advice

If someone is considering laser eye surgery, LASEK is one of the best options.  When the patient talks to their doctor, they will decide together which type of laser eye surgery is the best for them. It is also advised to speak to several LASEK surgeons prior to making a personal selection. Things such as education and experience should be discussed along with any and all of the patient’s questions.


Estimated Costs for LASEK Surgery

Country Cost
USA $2,000
Brazil $1,200
Costa Rica $1,000
South Africa $800
Thailand $650

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