LASEK Laser Vision Correction

Laser-assisted Subepithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is one of the three main types of laser vision correction surgery. LASIK and PRK are the other two types. In all three procedures an Excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea and correct vision.  The procedures differ in the preparation of the cornea prior to the Excimer laser treatment.  LASEK is often an optimal approach for a number of reasons.

During LASEK the superficial layer of the cornea (called the epithelium) is loosened but then replaced on the eye after the laser treatment.  This results in less chance of scarring, more comfort and quicker healing than if the epithelial cells are totally removed as in PRK.

A review of ophthalmic literature indicates that more Ophthalmologists are employing surface-type laser treatments such as LASEK than ever before. This is mainly due to safety factors. By not cutting a portion of the cornea to create a superficial flap, no flap complications can occur. Flap complications are usually easily dealt with but can lead to permanent scarring and decreased vision. LASEK does not have these flap complications.

In addition, some physicians feel that LASEK gives better visual results with Custom Vue VISX laser treatments. In LASIK, an individual’s visual aberrations are measured before the flap is made. The very act of making the flap, however, introduces some new aberrations that are not measured or treated. LASEK takes into account, measures and treats all aberrations. This results in a better overall success rate. The PRK surgery works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser and does NOT create a corneal flap.

Finally, LASEK can be performed on eyes with thin corneas and high corrections. Moreover, the LASEK procedure can be repeated over the years as new technology develops. This is especially true for the treatment of bifocal corrections in the years ahead. LASEK is easy to perform years out, whereas lifting a LASIK flap after decades can be problematic.

One Limitation

LASEK has one main drawback. There is no immediate WOW factor. With LASIK surgery, on day one there is improved sight in both eyes and with PRK surgery recovery is slower. With LASEK, such vision is not achieved until after five to seven days following surgery. Because of this, surgery is conducted on two separate occasions, once on each eye. This allows patients to have one fully operational eye at all times. The second eye is usually done one week after the first.

What To Expect After Surgery

After LASEK surgery, people continue doing most of what they usually do, including going to work. The only limitation for the first week is no hot tubs and no swimming. Because the biggest risk after surgery is infection, antibiotic drops are provided, along with anti-inflammatory drops.

Dr. Carlson has performed thousands of laser vision correction procedures over the years including LASIK and PRK, providing him the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully perform PRK for you.

If you have questions about vision correction, please contact us at 612.775.8009 or by email at

Get All the Latest News