Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK), was first performed in 1987, and similar to PRK, it does not create a corneal flap to access the stroma. The technique uses a special solution which preserves the extremely thin epithelial layer to gain access to the corneal stroma for laser treatment, and is typically recommended for patients that have very thin, or abnormally shaped corneas. Once access to the stroma is created a laser is used to gently reshape the cornea, just like LASIK, except with the LASEK technique, it takes a few days for the corneal epithelium to heal before complete vision clarity returns. For that reason, IQ Laser Vision suggests that the procedure is done to only 1 eye and the other eye is performed 1-4 days after, depending on the recovery time. The procedure would be done on the first eye and corrective lenses are used to provide functional vision with the other eye – contact lenses or glasses will be provided by IQ Laser Vision – until both procedures are complete. Dr. Lin is one of the first surgeons in the Los Angeles area to offer LASEK.
Who is a candidate?
Good candidates for the LASEK technique include patients who:
- Have stable vision, with less than half a diopter of change in their vision within the past 12 months.
- Have an understanding of their current vision problems and clear understanding of their options.
- Have healthy corneas, with no major vision-related issues.
- Have NO eye diseases or viruses, such as:
- Retina-related issues
- Optic Nerve-related issues
- Herpes simplex
- Herpes zoster
- Are over 18 years old and are in good general health.
- Are not pregnant or nursing, as hormonal shifts can cause fluctuations in prescription. Typically, a patient may be a candidate after at least 2 menstrual cycles after nursing has been discontinued.
Other factors which may impact your laser eye surgery and that should be discussed during your consultation include:
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Muscle imbalance (strabismus)
- Severe dry eyes
- Previous eye surgery
- Previous eye injury
- Eye scarring
- Any recurring or pre-existing eye concern you may have
Determining if you are a candidate for Micro-LASIK® starts with your FREE CONSULTATION, in order to perform a few optometry exams to understand your current vision issues. Once that is determined, your vision correction procedures and your best option can be discussed. At IQ Laser Vision, we understand your vision is very important and our number one goal is to provide high-quality care and service.
What are the potential risks of LASEK?
LASEK laser eye surgery is a very safe when a patient understands their vision problems after a thorough evaluation and makes an informed decision on a skilled surgeon to perform their vision correction procedure. Dr. Lin has personally performed over 40,000 refractive procedures and had LASIK eye surgery himself over 15 years ago. He understands the importance of such a big decision and continues to enjoy 20/20 vision today. The most common risks associated with laser eye surgery are more symptom-related, and include:
- Major loss of vision, including blindness, is extremely rare in laser eye surgery in general and has never occurred at IQ Laser Vision.
- Dry eyes
- Unassociated with laser eye surgery, dry eyes are a very common issue amongst many people. Factors such as contact lenses, personal hygiene, occupation, make-up, allergies, weather conditions and computer-use are just a few things that impact one’s severity of dryness.
- Discussing pre-existing dry eyes at your consultation with the doctor is very important to reduce potential long-term risks after your procedure.
- Some patients may experience dryness for a short period of time, typically 3 to 4 weeks following laser eye surgery, as the eye heals and re-establishes its balance of tear production over the healing period.
- IQ Laser Vision offers a wide-array of dry eye treatment options, if needed, before and after laser eye surgery which will be thoroughly discussed at your free consultation.
- Glare/Halos are caused by a number of factors but is essentially the scattering of light as it passes through the cornea. Factors such as eye fatigue, dry eyes, and astigmatism can cause this distortion which is typically more noticeable in lights at nighttime.
- Laser eye procedures that deal with the cornea have the potential to cause more glare/halos when compared to intraocular procedures like ICL, and discussing any pre-existing glare/halos before your procedure is very important.
- Some patients may experience a degree of glare/halos following laser eye surgery as the cornea heals, but typically only during the 3 to 6 month healing process, if they do.
- Foreign object sensation
- Some LASEK patients may experience short-term foreign object sensation during the healing period
- Corneal Haze
- Although extremely rare, during the healing period, it is possible for the epithelium layer to develop scar tissue which may cause blurred vision. In elevated cases, a specially-designed laser is used to break-up the scar tissue to clear up vision.
With the latest in vision correction technology IQ Laser Vision minimizes the risks and potential side effects associated with each laser eye surgery. Variations in individual recovery time are typical and as with any surgery each individual recovers at a different pace. Age, nutrition, gender, family background, adherence to recovery guidelines, and activity level are some factors that may have an effect on recovery time, but many patients are able to drive themselves to their follow-up appointment the day after their laser eye surgery! Typically the healing process takes 3 to 6 months with patients fully recovered by 9 to 10 months, except in rare cases. All risks are discussed before the procedure and throughout the process. IQ Laser Vision goes above and beyond, to take all necessary steps to minimize potential risks and is dedicated to answering any and all of the questions you may have to ensure you are comfortable with the procedure.
What are the benefits of LASEK?
- Freedom from the limitations of glasses and contact lenses
- Increased peripheral vision
- Decrease eye injury severity (injuries have the potential to be much worse when wearing corrective lenses)
- No need to put on contacts every morning and remove them every night
- Decrease the chance of eye infection and corneal abrasion(s) associated with handling contacts
- Eliminate the cost of constant maintenance of glasses frames, contact lenses, contact lens solution
- In the long-term LASIK will be cheaper than daily-use contact lenses and glasses
- The procedure is quick – about 15 minutes total with only seconds of laser treatment
- Increased cornea strength and stability
- Decreases the risks of potential corneal ectasia
- No complication associated with a corneal flap
- May reduce the potential of dry eyes when compared to LASIK
With the LASEK technique, the goal is to eliminate your dependency on corrective lenses like glasses and contact lenses. Although the LASEK technique may take longer to heal when compared to LASIK, it allows patients with extremely thin corneas, irregular shaped corneas, and/or very high prescriptions to achieve freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Without creating a corneal flap, the technique preserves more corneal tissue and therefore increases the stability of the cornea after the procedure.
What are the benefits of LASEK?
FAQs about LASEK
Q: After I have laser eye surgery, will my vision change later in life?
A: Your vision will probably change later in life, but not because of laser eye surgery. Unrelated to laser eye surgery, after reaching the age of forty nearly all individuals will experience a decline in the quality of their (up-close) reading vision. This age-related problem, called Presbyopia, is due to a weakening of the lens inside of the eye. Click here for more information on Presbyopia and vision correction options. Also unrelated to laser eye surgery, around the age of 60 many individuals will experience another age-related problem, called Cataracts, which is a clouding of the natural lens inside of the eye. Individuals with cataracts requires a lens procedure to correct, and typically experience vision issues like decreased visual clarity, cloudy vision, or difficulty driving at night. Click here, for more information on Cataracts and correction options. The goal of laser eye surgery is to provide clear vision and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses for life. Laser eye surgery is very effective in providing clear vision by permanently correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. After your laser eye surgery, it typically takes about 3 to 6 months for your eyes to heal and adjust to your new vision, before enjoying your life free of glasses and contact lenses. Included with each laser eye surgery is our 1-year Commitment Program, which includes 1 year of follow-up appointments to monitor your vision during this healing process and to ensure your vision stabilizes at its best corrected visual acuity. Also included is an enhancement procedure (if needed) although at IQ Laser Vision less than 1% of laser eye surgery patients require more than one procedure to achieve their best corrected visual acuity.
Q: Will I experience any pain with laser eye surgery?
A: At IQ Laser Vision, every effort is made to ensure that our patients have a very comfortable experience during and after their procedure. Anesthetic and medicated eye drops are administered for the procedure itself. You may feel some slight pressure, but will not experience any pain during your laser eye surgery. Once the procedure is complete, typically patients experience some mild burning and tearing by the time they get home, as the numbing drops wear off. Immediately going to sleep for the next 4-6 hours, as instructed, will minimize discomfort and provide rest for your eyes. LASEK laser eye procedures take about 3-5 days before functional vision clarity returns and the patient is able to drive and work again. During that time, it is not unusual to experience mild discomfort as the bandage lens holds the epithelium layer on the cornea to heal. Typically this resolves itself within 1 week of the procedure.
Q: What will I see during the procedure?
A: During the procedure, we will ask you to focus on a blurry, blinking red light. Immediately after the procedure the red light should become much clearer, and you may notice an improvement in your vision.
Q: I am very concerned about being able to remain still during the procedure?
A: This is a common fear many patients have and we are very aware. At IQ Laser Vision, we use the latest vision correction technology to reduce the actual laser treatment time required and therefore minimizing the time you need to remain still. Focusing on the laser light is also important and Dr. Lin will talk you through the entire process. Many patients only require a few seconds of treatment! If for any reason there is eye movement, our lasers are equipped with laser eye trackers that follow your eye during the procedure to deliver the treatment accurately, and are also designed to stop instantly if necessary. To minimize blinking, your eye will be numbed by an aesthetic and a small device called speculum is gently placed to hold your eye lids open.
Q: What is the difference in creating a flap with a traditional microkeratome vs. a laser?
A: At IQ Laser Vision, we offer both Micro-LASIK® and All-LASER Z-LASIK with the Zeimer Z6 Femtosecond LASER. Both techniques create a flap between 90-110 microns and use the same custom laser for treatment. Clinically, ???
Q: Are there any long-term side effects of LASIK?
A: Over 20 million people worldwide, including Dr. Lin, have had laser eye surgery. Long-term side effects are very rare, but understanding the risks of laser eye surgery is important. As mentioned above, there are a few common side effects associated with laser eye surgery but are typically short-term. These include dry eyes and halos/glare. In extremely rare cases where the stromal bed is below 250 microns (0.25mm), the cornea can become unstable and require a transplant. At IQ Laser Vision, we measure the corneal thickness during the surgery to ensure that we maintain at least 280-300 microns in the stromal bed. With the Micro-LASIK® thin flap technique we often have more than 360 microns in the stromal bed for greater stability and decreased potential for any long-term side effects.