LASEK is short for Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy, and it is a type of laser vision surgery procedures. Similar with LASIK, LASEK intended to correct a person’s vision, reducing their dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses by reshaping the anterior centrol cornea by an excimer laser.
LASEK procedure is very similar with LASIK. The operation also involves three steps. In the first step, the LASEK surgeon keeps the patient’s eye wide open during the laser vision surgery using a small instrument to secure the eyelids and creates a hinged corneal flap with a microkeratome blade or laser. Then the surgeon remodels the cornea underneath the flap with a laser as calculated before the laser vision surgery. In the last step of the laser vision surgery the flap is repositioned.
The only difference between the two laser vision surgeries is in the first step. LASEK only cut the outer layer of the cornea as flap when in LASIK a permanent flap is created in the deeper layers of the cornea.
Because the outer layer of the cornea, or epithelium, is a soft and rapidly regrowing layer in contact with the tear film, the out layer will quickly replace from limbal stem cells within a few days by itself after the laser vision surgery and will cause no loss of clarity. However, when the deeper layer is reshaped during the laser vision surgery such as LASIK, it remains the way with only limited healing. The cost of these two types of laser vision surgery is also about the same. For these reason, LASEK achieves more and more attentions all over the world.