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"LASEK" is defined as Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis Excimer Laser Eye surgery to correct vision is the most popular elective ophthalmological procedure in North America. Of these procedures LASIK and PRK were the most commonly performed. Both have been deemed safe and effective by the FDA. PRK is a surface ablation procedure. LASIK is a cutting procedure creating a flap. PRK is a safer procedure with slower vision recovery.

LASIK has faster vision recovery but much riskier with flap- related complications, interface complications, ectasia complications and rick for corneal neuralgia.

LASEK was developed with an eye to avoid the LASIK disadvantages but to aim to achieve the advantages of both PRK and LASIK. LASEK is Advanced Surface Ablation like PRK and does not require additional FDA approval.


The first LASEK procedure was performed in 1996 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital by Dr D T Azar. There are different techniques of the LASEK procedure. Common to all is using a diluted alcohol solution to elegantly, gently detach the corneal epithelium as a sheet of cells. Excimer Laser ablation is then applied to the cornea. The epithelial sheet may or may not be replaced. Topical antibiotic and steroid drops are applied and a soft contact lens is placed, to be removed 4 days later.

Advantages of LASEK[edit]
  • No risk of free cap
  • No risk of LASIK incomplete flap
  • No risk of LASIK button hole flap
  • No risk of LASIK flap striae (wrinkles)
  • No LASIK flap infection
  • No LASIK flap dislocation
  • No epithelial ingrowth
  • No diffuse lamellar keratitis
  • Lower risk of ectasia
  • No corneal neuralgia

Disadvantages of LASEK[edit]
  • May have post op discomfort
  • Slower visual recovery
  • Risk of corneal haze
  • Risk of persistent corneal defects
  • Risks of microbial keratitis


LASEK vs PRK Clinical studies showed in a prospective paired randomized comparison showed similar safety, patient satisfaction, and predictability of LASEK and PRK for low to moderate myopia. LASEK had lower postoperative pain scores and less corneal haze. Majority of patients preferred LASEK to PRK. A meta analysis of PRK and LASEK up to -9.0 Diopters (High Myopia) found similar results. More studies are needed to know if there are significant advantages between these 2 techniques. Because LASEK is more gentle than PRK in epithelial removal, it is intuitively preferable to do LASEK for patients who have previous trauma or surgery to their eyes.

LASEK vs LASIK Studies have shown some differences in visual refractive outcomes favouring LASEK, they were not clinically significant. Both are safe and effective.

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See also[edit]