• Image of mans eye with graph and text over it.

LASIK vs LASEK — Learn the difference

With all the great advance­ments in the field of oph­thal­mol­o­gy over the past few decades, more and more indi­vid­u­als are decid­ing to rid them­selves of the has­sle that glass­es and con­tacts cause. Decid­ing to under­go laser eye surgery is an impor­tant deci­sion and the first step you should take is to con­sult with your eye doc­tor about your poten­tial options. In the mean­time, here is some infor­ma­tion about a poten­tial option that you may not have heard of. LASEK eye surgery is a vari­a­tion of PRK surgery that patients who are not great can­di­dates for LASIK surgery can under­go. The dif­fer­ence between LASIK and LASEK is how the cornea is manip­u­lat­ed dur­ing the surgery. Here is a brief overview of LASIK vs. LASEK.

The Pro­ce­dures

In LASIK eye surgery, the eye sur­geon cre­ates a thin flap in the cornea that is then fold­ed back in order to access the corneal stro­ma tis­sue below. The sur­geon reshapes the inner cornea to cor­rect for the refrac­tive vision errors. Once the cornea has been reshaped, the cornea flap is then replaced to its orig­i­nal posi­tion and acts as a nat­ur­al ban­dage, allow­ing the eye to heal.

LASEK eye surgery is almost a com­bi­na­tion of PRK and LASIK. In LASEK, the sur­geon will sep­a­rate the top cornea lay­er (epithe­li­um) from the under­ly­ing stro­ma lay­er, sim­i­lar to the PRK pro­ce­dure. How­ev­er, instead of com­plete­ly remov­ing the top lay­er (like in PRK), the sur­geon will push the thin lay­er to one side of the cornea, sim­i­lar in LASIK. Once the cornea has been prop­er­ly reshaped, the thin lay­er is then posi­tioned back into its orig­i­nal place.


While both pro­ce­dures are extreme­ly suc­cess­ful, cer­tain patients are bet­ter can­di­dates for one over the oth­er. The biggest dif­fer­ence between LASIK and LASEK is the thick­ness of the corneal “flap” that is cre­at­ed. The LASEK pro­ce­dure only uti­lizes the epithe­lial tis­sue com­pared to LASIK that cuts the epithe­li­um and corneal stro­ma tis­sue to form the flap (much thick­er). Can­di­dates that have either too thin or too flat of corneas make much bet­ter can­di­dates for LASEK due to the thick­ness of “flap” that is nec­es­sary to access the under­ly­ing corneal stro­ma. LASEK pre­serves more corneal tis­sue, elim­i­nates any poten­tial com­pli­ca­tions with the corneal stro­ma flap that may occur in LASIK, few­er haze issues and less risk of dry eyes than com­pared to LASIK patients. How­ev­er, the heal­ing process is slight­ly longer with LASEK than com­pared to LASIK. The “flap” edges begin to heal with­in a day and patients can get back to dri­ving with­in the first week. Clear vision is usu­al­ly expect­ed in about 6–8 weeks after surgery.


Both LASIK and LASEK cor­rect for refrac­tive errors such as near­sight­ed­ness, far­sight­ed­ness, astig­ma­tism, and pres­by­opia. Each pro­ce­dure lasts approx­i­mate­ly 15 min­utes per eye and is an out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure that is per­formed under local anes­the­sia. The suc­cess rate for each pro­ce­dure is extreme­ly high and the eye sur­geon will con­duct exten­sive screen­ings to decide which pro­ce­dure would be best for each indi­vid­ual patient. With that being said, LASIK is still the most pop­u­lar option for those indi­vid­u­als look­ing to cor­rect their vision.

Each surgery has extreme­ly high suc­cess rates that pro­duce excep­tion­al results for the patients look­ing to enhance their vision and elim­i­nate their need for con­tacts and glass­es. As said before, it is always best to dis­cuss your options with your eye doc­tor and under­go the screen­ing process to deter­mine the best pos­si­ble pro­ce­dure for you specif­i­cal­ly. For the best laser eye sur­geons in the Tri-State area, sched­ule your con­sul­ta­tion with Dia­mond Vision today. Sched­ule your con­sul­ta­tion at one of 9 Dia­mond Vision loca­tions!


December 27th, 2016|Comments Off on LASIK vs LASEK — Learn the difference

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


If you would like to schedule a free consultation or ask one of our amazing staff a quick question, text "Diamond Ready" to (917) 881-3938 between 9am-6pm (M-F) and we will be here to help you!