Refractive laser eye surgery is a process in which a laser is used to reshape the cornea in order to correct problems with vision. Three vision conditions that can be successfully treated with laser eye surgery are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The two most common types of laser eye surgery are LASIK and LASEK. These procedures are similar in that they both restore vision to 20/20 or 20/40. However, there are a few key differences in the methodology.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses, or LASIK for short, is a procedure which involves using a laser to cut a thin, circular flap in the cornea. The hinged flap is then folded back, and corneal tissue is removed. Next, the cornea is either flattened to correct nearsightedness or steepened to correct farsightedness. In the case of astigmatism, irregularities in the cornea are smoothed. Finally, the hinged flap is replaced, and the cornea is allowed to heal naturally.
In laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy, or LASEK for short, a hinged corneal flap is not created. Instead, only the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is removed. A special bladed tool is used to create the cut in the epithelium. This thin, hinged epithelial flap is then pushed to the side. Next, a laser is used to reshape the cornea in much the same way as in LASIK. After the epithelial flap is put back in place, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye to keep the flap in place as it heals.
LASIK or LASEK
LASIK is the more common refractive laser eye procedure because most people can qualify for the surgery. It is a relatively simple and quick process, and the recovery time is fast with minimal discomfort. However, some people are not candidates for LASIK because their cornea is too thin or too flat to withstand the process. For these patients, LASEK may be the better option, since it does not involve removing the cornea. LASEK patients will often experience more discomfort following the surgery and a longer recovery period.
The Laser Eye Surgery Experts in Green Bay WI can perform a thorough eye exam and help you determine which laser eye surgery is right for you. Whether it be LASIK or LASEK, rest assured that you will be kept well-informed and cared for each step of the way. Visit our clinic for more information and to make an appointment.