Lasek Eye Surgery LASIK, LASEK... are they the same? Or, does someone just have poor spelling? Actually, there are quite significant differences between traditional LASIK procedures and a newer procedure, LASEK.

What Is LASEK And How Can You Benefit?
LASIK surgery is the traditional stand by surgery, where a surgeon uses ultraviolet laser light to help reshape the cornea. Laser surgery typically addresses common vision problems including near and farsightedness or astigmatism.

LASEK surgery or Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis is a variant of traditional LASIK surgery. In the LASEK procedure, a surgeon cuts a thin layer of the epithelium that lines the front of the cornea.

Then, the surgeon moistens this ultra-thin layer using a diluted alcohol solution and removes it so he or she can then laser treat the underlying cornea. This procedure is much like creating a corneal flap (in traditional LASIK surgery) but instead involves a flap in the epithelium of the eye. Once surgery is complete, the surgeon replaces this flap to help promote faster healing.

The flap in epithelium cut serves much the same role a band-aid might, protecting and covering the reshaped cornea.

LASEK Candidacy
LASEK is a good alternative for patients who have thin corneas or irregular shaped corneas and may not therefore, be good candidates for traditional LASIK surgery. A doctor will have to rule out other health problems that may increase the patient's risk for complications following the procedure.

Like traditional LASIK surgery, LASEK surgery is not without risks. Many of the side effects associated with LASIK surgery hold true for LASEK surgery. It is important if considering this procedure you talk with your doctor about possible side effects, including persistent dry eyes, before agreeing to surgery. By making an informed decision, you will reduce the risk of unexpected or troubling side effects or complications following surgery.

Other Types of Refractive Surgery
LASEK is considered a "corneal surface" treatment, as are other types of refractive surgery including the PRK procedure. While many consider LASEK a better alternative to PRK, in part due to shorter recovery times, PRK may be a better choice for some patients.

PRK is also called photo refractive keratotomy. This procedure also involves sue of ultraviolet light to change the tissue in the cornea and help reshape the cornea to promote better vision. This procedure, like LASIK, involves creation of a thin flap in the cornea, which a surgeon lifts before reshaping corneal tissue.

Thin layers of the cornea are removed during surgery, and the flap is reapplied to help promote faster healing. The primary difference between PRK and LASIK is LASIK is a more refined procedure, resulting in shorter healing times and less complications.

Still other types of refractive surgery include custom LASIK, also called wavefront-guided LASIK surgery. This surgery involves use of individual measurements of the eye. A surgeon creates a 3-D image of the eye using technology, producing a graphical map prior to surgery. This allows more precise shaping of the cornea during surgery, and helps surgeon's better address higher and lower order aberrations that may result in unusual visual disturbances.

It is important you understand all your choices when it comes to laser eye surgery. Make sure you consult with your eye doctor and talk about these various treatment choices before deciding what type of surgery you are a good candidate for. Together with your surgeon you can make an informed choice and select a procedure least likely to result in complications after surgery.

Remember too that not all people interested in LASIK are good candidates for surgery. Your surgeon will help you decide the best methods for improving your vision safely and affordably in the short and long-term.

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