Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is a relatively new procedure. It is a variation of both the PRK and LASIK laser eye surgeries.
During the procedure, the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is loosened with an alcohol solution. This surface skin is then pushed aside. The cornea is then reshaped with the laser in the same way as LASIK and PRK vision correction. The outer epithelial layer is then replaced and a contact lens is put overlying it. The contact lens is left in position in the eye until that surface layer reattaches and heals.
Currently, the use of the excimer laser for LASEK is not FDA-approved. Additional studies will be necessary before LASEK is widely accepted as a viable procedure among corneal surgeons.
Drawbacks to LASEK include greater discomfort following the procedure and increased healing time in comparison to LASIK procedure. There is no evidence in the literature or in our experience to suggest that LASEK has any benefit over PRK vision correction.
Due to these complications, LASIK MD laser eye surgeons have decided not to perform this vision correction procedure at their clinics.