Is LASIK Really Better Than LASEK?

Lasik vs. Lasek
LASIK vs. LASEK Surgery
Traditional LASIK procedures involve the use of a microkeratome blade to cut a flap in the cornea, allowing surgeons to reshape it. The LASEK procedure is somewhat different. It still involves creation of a corneal flap during surgery, however the surgeon uses a different instrument, called a trephine, to create this flap. Then, the surgeon uses an alcohol solution to loosen the epithelium of the eye and gently folds the flap back to reshape the cornea using a blade.

The FDA recently reported that patient outcomes between the two procedures are relatively the same. Some doctors, however, prefer LASEK because they state that the flap created heals in just one day, even though patients may have to wear bandages for up to a week. Even so, LASIK recovery for some patients is often faster than LASEK. Many patients may take up to a week to recover from LASEK, compared with a couple of days for LASIK surgery.

How To Decide What Surgery To Have

If you are undecided about what procedure may be best for you, you should talk with your eye care professional. If they recommend one procedure over another, ask them how they arrived at that decision.

Studies show that both procedures are usually very safe for most patients and very effective. They are both reasonable for treating nearsightedness in patients. There will always be doctors, however, that prefer one procedure to another. LASIK has been around longer than LASEK surgery.

If your doctor suggests that LASEK is safer and better, ask them why, then make sure you get a second opinion. Because the outcomes of each surgery are so similar, but LASIK patients sometimes heal better, it is important to understand why your doctor chooses one over another. Find out whether another doctor has the same opinion. Most importantly, do your homework.

The best thing you can do to ensure a good outcome is find a good, competent and knowledgeable surgeon. When in doubt, don't forget to ask your doctor a few questions, like:

  • How many LASEK procedures have you performed and what were the outcomes?
  • How many LASIK procedures have you performed and what were the outcomes?
  • In your experience which surgery produced the best results, and had the most patients come out of surgery with 20/20 or better vision?
  • What complications have you had with LASEK?
  • What complications have you had with LASIK?
  • Why do you feel LASEK (or LASIK) is the best choice for me?
  • How long will it take to recover?
  • What is the difference in price between the two?

Don't let price be your sole factor in deciding between the two surgeries. Often people go by price alone, and this can be a big mistake when it comes to your eyes. When it comes to refractive surgery, more expensive may be a little better. You want to ensure you work with a reputable clinic that provides the best possible outcome.

Learn more about LASIK and LASEK eye surgeries on our forums!