What is LASEK

Laser assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy is a form of laser eye surgery that many people are turning to more and more, removing the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Lasek is a relatively new surgery and is almost a variation of PRK laser surgery.

Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy

The treatment involves using an excimer laser (ultraviolet chemical laser) to burn off tissue from the corneal stroma (tough, fibrous tissue), which is located at the front of the eye.

Before the laser is used to burn off the tissue, surgeons remove the outer layer of the cornea known as the epithelium with a trephine before applying an alcohol based substance for a short period to loosen the epithelium; this tissue is soft and has the ability to grow again quite rapidly.

The epithelium is then moved like a flap of skin so the laser can work on the corneal tissue underneath. The deeper layer within the cornea if reshaped by laser treatment wont regenerate as easily as the epithelium and only has limited healing powers.

The after affects of surgery

After the treatment is completed it takes about 24 to 36 hours for the flap edge of the epithelium to heal. The patient will still need to wear an eye bandage or bandage contact lens for another 3 days after this to make sure full healing has occurred, some patients also report irritation in the eye for the first couple of days.

To see the full results to a patients vision can vary greatly from person to person but can normally be anywhere from four to seven days post surgery.

Complications with surgery

Complications with laser assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy are a lot lower than other types of laser surgery because it is not so invasive. This is mainly due to the fact that other surgeries involve an incision to be made into the cornea which LASEK surgery does not.

The complications associated with LASEK surgery are blurred visions, scarring to the cornea and hazy vision post surgery.

LASEK surgery compared to other laser surgeries

As mentioned LASEK surgery does have a lot less complications than other laser surgeries which means it is a lot safer surgical procedure.

The cornea is not weakened by LASEK surgery as much as other surgeries, which means there is less risk of corneal trauma later on in life.

Choosing a treatment

Your medical consultant will tell you what treatments are available for your condition, this will involve the medical consultant telling you all about the different procedures involved and any risks attached to the surgery. Laser eye surgery is not like deciding on a new car, you may find that some of the available laser surgeries like the LASEK surgery does not fulfil the required treatment you need.


Overall these surgeries are very safe and have very high success rates so if you feel anxious about undertaking laser surgery there is no need to worry. If you ever have doubts about the surgery then talk to your consultant who will be willing to listen.