LASIK or LASEK: How to Choose the Best Treatment for Your Eyes?

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Laser eye surgery has come as a boon for those who have near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. It helps correct your vision and enables you to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. Thanks to advancements in medical science, you now have a couple of treatment options available for vision correction. Depending on your medical history, eye health, and vision correction needs, your doctor can help zero in on the best treatment for you.

It is important to practice a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain your eyesight but a number of factors can cause vision problems. In that case if you plan to get laser eye surgery done, online research on this topic may throw up some confusing medical terms. It is advisable to take up your questions with an ophthalmologist. But we can help clear up some initial details. In this article, you can read about the different types of laser surgeries, their applicability, and the difference between Lasik and Lasek laser eye surgery.

What is Laser Surgery?

Laser surgery is a process of reshaping the cornea or the transparent part of the eye that covers the front portion of your eye. The cornea protects the pupil, the iris, and the eye’s anterior chamber. It is responsible for focusing light that enters the eye. In laser eye surgery, the cornea is reshaped using a concentrated light beam to correct your vision. Even though there are no incisions involved, it is still referred to as ‘surgery’. Two laser treatments are commonly recommended for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism, namely Lasik surgery and Lasek surgery.

What is Lasik?

Lasik or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis is one of the most commonly recommended treatments in vision correction. The Lasik procedure creates a corneal flap using a femtosecond laser. It has minimal downtime for the patient, and most people recover within one or two days. Lasik eye surgery is also one of the most successful vision correction treatments globally, with more than 95% of people reporting satisfaction with their vision.

What is Lasek?

Lasek or laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy is laser eye surgery. It treats vision problems like near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. In Lasek surgery, the cornea’s outer layer is removed and replaced to improve eyesight. In Lasek eye surgery, the cornea’s outer layer is regenerated naturally, and patients need a few days to recover. This procedure is recommended to those with a thinner cornea and not enough tissue to harvest for Lasik.

How Are These Procedures Similar?

There are quite a few similarities between Lasik and Lasek eye surgeries. The eye surgeon will use a laser to cut into and reshape the cornea in both these procedures. As a result, the way the cornea focuses light on the retina changes, and your vision improves. Both the treatments eliminate the need to use eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Both Lasik and Lasek eye surgeries have proven highly effective in vision correction. A second surgery or the need to use glasses in some situations may arise in both treatments.

What is the Difference between Lasik and Lasek?

The primary difference between Lasik and Lasek laser eye surgery is the method of vision correction. In Lasik, a portion of the cornea is harvested and used that. A corneal flap is created and replaced. On the other hand, in Lasek, the top layer of the cornea is loosened, moved, and reattached. The top layer then regenerates itself in a few days.

The downtime in Lasik eye surgery is only one or two days – and the discomfort is also comparatively less. Lasek eye surgery requires a bit longer healing time and is considered more invasive.

Pros and Cons of Lasik Eye Surgery

Following are some benefits of Lasik eye surgery as a treatment for vision correction:

  • Well-suited to treat most people with near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism
  • The procedure is quick to complete and non-invasive
  • Both eyes can be treated at once
  • In Lasik, the recovery time is short – from 24 hours to a week

Some disadvantages of Lasik surgery are:

  • Not suitable for those with a thinner cornea
  • Those with highly-impaired vision may need a second surgery or use eyeglasses even after Lasik surgery

Pros and Cons of Lasek eye surgery

Some benefits of Lasek eye surgery are:

  • Can correct vision even for those with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Suitable for those with myopia or short-sightedness
  • Lesser risk of dryness in eyes post-surgery

Some disadvantages of Lasek surgery are:

  • The procedure is a bit invasive and involves the removal of the outer layer of the cornea
  • The recovery time is longer, and the discomfort is also more significant in Lasek
  • Not suitable for everyone

How to Choose between Lasik and Lasek eye surgery?

Lasik and Lasek are both safe and effective treatments for vision correction. Generally, doctors recommend Lasik more commonly to patients. Lasek is suggested only when the patient has pre-existing medical conditions or other problems.

Usually, those with thinner corneas are recommended to go with Lasek surgery. It is also suitable for those with severe myopia or people who work or engage in activities that may dislodge the corneal flap created in Lasik surgery. Typically, Lasek is more invasive and causes more discomfort to the patient. Therefore doctors do not recommend Lasek eye surgery unless necessary.

The best way to find out which treatment is best for you is to consult a laser eye surgeon. They will examine your eyes and recommend the best treatment for you.

Both these treatments are good options for those who need vision correction. Depending on your medical history, current health conditions, the degree of vision impairment, and working conditions – your doctor will recommend the most suitable laser surgery for your eyes. Both Lasik and Lasek surgery can restore normal vision to your eyes and give you the freedom to live without eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. He blogs about the latest eye care technology and other related topics, especially LASIK.

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