Lasek Vs. Lasik: Pros and Cons

It seems that most doctors appear to strongly prefer Lasek over Lasik because LASEK eliminates the need to relift the flap, laser the flap. And that LASEK won't induce astigmatism or striae, wrinkles, scarring. What are the benefits of LASIK over LASEK? What are the Pros and Cons?

Doctor Answers 6

LASIK vs. LASEK. How about PRK vs. LASIK?

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Some of my colleagues who perform the LASEK procedure do so b/c of the slight reduction in complications seen (since there is no corneal flap created in this procedure). The downside to LASEK is not only that the healing time takes longer but that the healing process may be more uncomfortable than LASIK. In fact, some surgeons have noted that LASEK is more uncomfortable and has a longer healing time than PRK. For that reason, I perform LASIK and PRK, not LASEK at my practice. If you're interested in LASEK, I would suggest researching PRK. There is much more information out there about PRK and the two procedures are very similar. The only difference is that, in PRK, the outer epithelial cells of the cornea are removed before the laser treatment is performed while, with LASEK, the out epithelial cells are loosened with an alcohol solution and then lifted in a pseudo-flap. From that point on, the procedures are identical. Hope that helps!
-Dr. Clinch

Washington DC Ophthalmologist

Lasek vs lasik

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you are correct, the lasek procedure is noncutting so is 10x safer than lasik, both for initial treatments and for enhancements, the downside is the recovery takes a couple of days longer, not weeks longer that is PRK which is the surface procedure that LASEK has largely replaced

Emil William Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA
New York Ophthalmologist

Lasek Vs. Lasik: Pros and Cons

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Hi, Both LASEK and LASIK have their pros and cons. LASIK is a safe surgery if done after the patient has been evaluated and ascertained that he is a right candidate as regards his corneal thickness, surface etc. Other than mild irritation, patients usually do not complain of any prolonged pain or redness. LASEK on the other hand is a surface procedure where one's eyes may remain painful and irritable for upto a week. Also the chances of regression are higher with LASEK especially for numbers higher than -5 to -6. On the other hand LASEK has the advantage of being a flapless surgery and better suited to thinner corneas.

Vandana Jain, MS
India Ophthalmologist

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LASIK is still preferred over LASEK

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Take a look at the ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery).  LASIK is still preferred over LASEK.  Each procedure has pros and cons depending on the patient’s eyes.  Be careful of non-“peer” web sites that are more advertising than data based.  Most importantly see a respectable and ethical surgeon.  It’s hard to be non-biased if the surgeon is not trained to perform all types of procedures.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

LASEK is essentially PRK

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There are only two ways to laser the cornea to restore vison, either it is done on the surface with removing the epithelial cover (PRK) or that layer is preserved and covers the eye after the treatment (LASEK) but in fact the layer does not survive and essentially LASEK is PRK.  So to answer your question compare PRK to LASIK.  There are potential issues with LASIK and the flap, but modern all laser methods have reduced these risks.  PRK requires a longer, more painful healing process and many times the off label use of medications to control healing such as Mitomycin-C.

Most laser centers perform both procedures and choose the procedure that is best for an individual patient.  You should explore both options with your doctor.  Currently LASIK is much more frequently performed than PRK.

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village Ophthalmologist


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These terms can become alphabet soup and really confusing if you are not careful. LASEK is, essentially, PRK(Photorefractive Keratectomy), which is a laser treatment to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASEK(or PRK) is applied directly to the outermost layer of the cornea and, as a result, adds a few days to the healing time. LASIK(Laser Assisted Keratomilieusis) is a procedure in which the surgeon creates a corneal flap(preferably with a laser), lifts the flap, uses another laser to correct the vision, then places the flap back in position. Since the surface of the cornea is disturbed less than with LASEK(PRK) the healing time is much quicker. I have found the end result of the two procedures, when properly performed, is the same, however, the LASEK(PRK) will take longer to get there. I think the elimination of existing visual problems(including astigmatism) are equal. I also think the potential risks, although few, are equal as well.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.