The Difference between LASEK and LASIK Eye Surgery

The Difference between LASEK and LASIK Eye Surgery

Two of the most confusing eye care terms are LASEK and LASIK. With similar pronunciation, almost similar spelling, and procedures that are not so far-fetched from each other, it is not difficult to see why these terms get switched a lot especially by people with little knowledge in this sector.

However, if you are going to undergo a laser eye treatment, then it is pertinent for you to know the difference between both terms, which is why we have compiled this article containing a detailed explanation of both terms. Of course, it is highly unlikely that your chosen eye specialist will misplace both terms and procedures, but to be on the safe side, it is best to have a clear understanding of both terms.


First, it is necessary to know the meaning and concept of laser eye surgery. This is a process which involves the reshaping of the cornea with the help of laser to aid the effective transmission of focus to the retina. In this process, there is no incision, although the term surgery is included.


The two main methods of conducting a laser eye treatment are LASIK and LASEK. Both processes are similar, with the major difference being how the cornea is opened to receive the inserted laser.


LASIK is short for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. For over 20 years, the procedure has been performed with very impressive results on patients that have used it. It has helped to improve visions and remove blurs. It is the measure of the effectiveness of this procedure that spurred NASA into recommending the procedure for astronauts.

LASIK procedure

During this treatment, a microkeratome is used to create a precise, thin flap on the cornea, which is then pulled back from the underlying layer, exposing it. The laser is then used for the correction of the vision by reshaping the cornea to a unique, suitable pattern for the patient. Next, the surgeon precisely repositions the pulled flap to cover the underlying layer. You can tell that this procedure requires a lot of experience and prowess as it is very delicate.

Recovery Process

An added advantage of the LASIK procedure is the quick recovery process. Improvements are noticed immediately for some, while others have to wait for a few weeks before complete improvement is noticed. You would be unable to drive yourself back immediately after the procedure, but this will not be the case after about 24-48 hours.


LASEK is short for Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy. This procedure is reserved for people with medical conditions that could cause a challenge during eye surgery. For instance, people with thinner corneas will have to use this method.

LASEK procedure

In this method, an alcohol solution is placed on the eye surface, and a thin sheet is applied on it. The function of the alcohol is to loosen the cell layers on the epithelium, allowing the loose cells to stick to the sheet placed. The sheet is then moved gently to the side of the eye, granting the surgeon access to the cornea where the laser is then inserted through.

Recovery Process

In LASEK eye surgery, a special contact lens is placed on the eye for about 4-5 days in order to aid comfort while healing is taking place. Both eyes can be treated on the same day. The vision needs some time to settle properly, so a few days might pass before improvement is noticed. The recovery here takes a slightly longer time than in LASIK, say about a few weeks. However, this recovery time is nothing compared to the corrected vision you would enjoy long term.

Benefits of LASIK

  • Fast completion
  • Fast recovery time (Anywhere from 1 day to a few weeks, depending on the patient in question)
  • Applicable for most people with most eye issues including myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.

Benefits of LASEK

  • Can be used on people with special medical conditions.
  • For people with a more severe myopic case, this method is more effective.
  • Reduced risk of dry eyes.


As it has been stated, the major difference between the two procedures is the method of penetration of the laser through the cornea. Since the most preferred method varies for each person depending on their specific eye cornea thickness.

Your eye surgeon should be able to recommend the best method for you after carrying out a thorough check. Both treatments are very effective and will produce the required results.

Note that the eyes are very sensitive and should only be handled by licensed professionals. If you are looking for the best place for laser eye surgery in London for either LASEK or LASIK eye surgery, then experts at Optimal Vision are available for you. With years of experience, skills and indulgence in the eye world, they can confidently handle your eye-related issue.

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