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Refractive Surgery: LASEK

LASEK (pronounced "Lay-SEEK") stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis. It's a technique for reshaping corneal tissue to help you see better without glasses or corrective lenses. The epithelium (top layer of cornea) is softened with an alcohol solution to create a flap in the cornea. An excimer laser is then used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. The excimer laser produces a concentrated beam of cool ultraviolet (UV) light. LASEK can treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

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What to Expect During the Procedure

  • Before treatment, you may be given medication to help you relax.

  • Eyedrops numb your eyes. A device is used to keep your eyes open.

  • An instrument with alcohol solution in it is briefly placed on the cornea. The surgeon then rolls back the softened epithelium to expose the inner cornea tissue.

  • Your surgeon uses a computer-guided excimer laser to reshape the cornea. Laser treatment lasts for 10-90 seconds.

  • The epithelium is folded back over the cornea. You will wear a contact lens as a bandage for a few days. This protects the cornea as it heals.

  • For a few days after the procedure, your vision may seem worse. It should begin to improve in about 5 days, and become stable in about 6 months.

Cons of LASEK

  • Mild to moderate pain after surgery

  • Longer vision recovery than LASIK

  • May need to use eyedrops for 3 months or longer

  • Risk of corneal scarring or haze

  • Possible temporary or permanent dry eye

  • Risk of night vision problems, such as halos or glare

  • Possible undercorrection or overcorrection

  • Possible loss of best corrected vision

Pros of LASEK

  • Better for patients with thin corneas, previous glaucoma surgery, mild corneal scars, or other cornea problems

  • Possibly less postoperative discomfort, haze, regression, or corneal scarring than with PRK

  • Possibly faster vision recovery than with PRK

Publication Source: The American Academy of Ophthalmology

Online Source: The American Academy of Ophthalmology

Date Last Reviewed: 2004-08-26T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2003-06-23T00:00:00-06:00

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We see patients from the downtown Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union areas of Seattle in King County, WA.

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Dr. Feiten was born and raised in Wisconsin, attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for her undergraduate studies. She graduated from Pacific University with her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1987. She practiced in Kentucky for seven years, receiving the Young OD of the Year Award in 1994.

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Seattle, WA 98101
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Fax: 206.623.1759
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