Top 30 LASEK Frequently Asked Questions: 2024 Edition

Every FAQ you ever had about LASEK is answered here! Find out what others have been asking about LASEK laser eye surgery and get up-to-date answers. Here’s pretty much everything you wanted to know about LASEK surgery:

  • Is LASEK right for you?
  • Are you suitable for LASEK?
  • What’s the difference between LASEK and LASIK?
  • Is LASEK the same as PRK?
  • Will it hurt?!

I’ve grouped the questions together by topic. Here’s the table of contents to jump right to the question you’ve desperately wanted the answer to! And if you want LASEK or PRK surgery with me, click here to book a consultation, or press the button top right of this page.

LASEK Frequently Asked Questions

How painful is LASEK recovery?

How painful is LASEK recovery? While pain is subjective, it is important to note that patients may experience mild to moderate discomfort following LASEK surgery. To ensure a smooth recovery, I provide comprehensive assistance by offering anti-inflammatory eye drops, anaesthetic eye drops, and pain-relieving tablets.

My goal is to alleviate any potential discomfort and support patients throughout their LASEK recovery journey.

Can you have LASEK twice?

Can you have LASEK twice? Over time, it is important to be aware that your vision may naturally undergo changes, particularly if you had LASEK surgery several years ago. For example, needing reading glasses. These changes are considered to be normal and can occur regardless of whether you had LASEK surgery or not.

However, it is worth noting that it is usually possible to undergo a second LASEK surgery if necessary, allowing for further adjustments and improvements to your vision if desired.

You will need to have sufficient corneal thickness, which depends on how much treatment was performed the first time. High prescriptions remove more tissue, so less may be available for retreatment.

Is LASEK better than SMILE?

Are you considering LASEK and SMILE as the treatment options for your vision correction? Let’s delve into the details. While SMILE surgery involves removing more corneal tissue than LASEK (or LASIK eye surgery), which may have an impact on biomechanical stability, LASEK offers a broader range of refractive error correction.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that, at present, SMILE surgery does not provide a solution for long-sightedness or the need for reading glasses. Taking into consideration these factors can help you make an informed decision about the best approach for your vision correction needs.

   

SMILE

LASEK

Treat all prescriptions

Treat long-sight?

Prescription range *

Up to -10D (dioptres)

Up to -14D (dioptres)

Thinner corneas

Fix astigmatism

Astigmatism max D

5 dioptres

6 dioptres

Vision recovery

1-7 days

4-7 days


Post-op pain

No

Yes


Needs operating theatre

Infection rate

Yes, rate unknown

Rare = 1 in 7,000

The maximum LASEK treatment range is compared to SMILE below. However, in reality, most extreme prescriptions above -9 to -10 dioptres would be treated with implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery.

How successful is LASEK?

How successful is LASEK? While it is true that no surgical procedure can guarantee 100% effectiveness, LASIK stands out with high success and satisfaction rates. In fact, studies have shown that 96% of patients report high levels of satisfaction after LASEK treatment.

Moreover, effectiveness studies indicate that a significant majority of LASEK patients, around 95%, achieve 20/20 vision or even better following the procedure. Patients with thin corneas or who participate in contact sports usually opt for LASEK or PRK.

How bad is LASEK pain?

How bad is LASEK pain? After LASEK, your eyes will feel gritty, sore, and often painful. Patients are frequently sensitive to light during the initial healing. This will typically resolve within 2-4 days. Severe pain is rare; if you experience severe pain, you should contact your surgeon immediately.

What age should you get LASEK?

What age should you get LASEK? To have LASIK surgery, you must be at least 18 years old. However, it’s often advised that patients wait until they are in their early to mid-twenties before electing to undergo the procedure if their prescription is progressing.

It’s recommended to wait until your prescription becomes stable. You should have had the same prescription for 12 months. This helps ensure a long-lasting vision result.

Why choose LASEK over LASIK?

Why choose LASEK over LASIK? If you have thin corneas, LASEK might be a preferable choice. Unlike LASIK, LASEK doesn’t involve creating a flap, so it requires less tissue.

Additionally, LASEK can be beneficial for high myopia, keeping the total percentage of tissue altered at a lower level. Surgeons often use the percentage of tissue altered (PTA) as a measure for safe treatment. Studies suggest the PTA should not exceed 40%.

How long does LASEK last for?

How long does LASEK last for? LASEK eye surgery offers long-lasting benefits by permanently reshaping the front of your eyes. One research paper showed nearly 100% safety and efficacy of LASEK in mild to moderate myopia over an 8-year follow-up.

Which is safer: LASIK or LASEK?

Which is safer LASIK or LASEK? Both types of eye surgery, LASIK and LASEK, offer safe and effective solutions with comparable outcomes. LASIK, which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, has been widely adopted as the preferred choice for vision correction due to its proven track record and rapid recovery time.

However, in cases where LASIK may not be the ideal option for certain individuals, LASEK, or Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis, serves as a viable alternative. LASEK involves a slightly different surgical technique that can be beneficial for patients with thinner or weaker corneas or other specific considerations.

Ultimately, both LASIK and LASEK provide excellent options for individuals seeking improved vision and freedom from glasses or contact lenses.

What is the complication rate of LASEK?

What is the complication rate of LASEK? Overall, the chance of a vision-reducing complication is 1 in 10,000. This can still be amenable to treatment, so options still remain. The incidence of infection is one in 7,000 procedures for LASEK (or PRK) and one in 20,000 for LASIK.

The rate is higher with LASEK than LASIK because of the more extended period for the skin layer to heal. Corneal flap complications: Unlike LASIK eye surgery, there is no corneal flap and hence no flap complications.

Can LASEK be reversed?

Can LASEK be reversed? LASEK cannot be truly reversed because some tissue is removed during the treatment. However, the focus change (your vision) can usually be reversed with additional treatment. With LASEK to correct your distance vision, you will likely need reading glasses in your mid-40s, unless you opted for a blended vision treatment.

Can I look at my phone after LASEK?

Can I look at my phone after LASEK? To ensure an ideal recovery, it is advisable to wait for a minimum of 24 hours before resuming staring at your phone, computer, tablet, or engaging in TV viewing. Employing your phone immediately subsequent to the procedure can lead to ocular strain, potentially impeding the healing process.

Keep your eyes rested and well lubricated to assist the surface skin layer to regrow and heal.

How many times can you do LASEK?

How many times can you do LASEK? LASEK, a laser eye surgery procedure, can be repeated on several occasions to address vision problems. However, it is important to note that exceeding three treatments may carry potential risks and could worsen existing vision issues.

Therefore, it is crucial to carefully consider the number of treatments to ensure optimal eye health and the best outcome achievable. It is sometimes better to live with a small prescription than risk re-treatment, especially if this would be the fourth procedure or more.

What are the long-term effects of LASEK?

What are the long-term effects of LASEK? LASEK risks include short-term issues, such as infection (very rare at 1 in 7,000) or dryness in the fist few months. In rare cases, LASEK carries long-term risks, such as over-correction, under-correction or vision regression, permanent dry eye, corneal haze, infection, scarring, and ectasia.

Fortunately, these side-effects have been greatly reduced with modern laser technology, better eye scanners, and greater understanding of patient suitability.

What should I avoid after LASEK?

What should I avoid after LASEK? Avoid physical activities which might cause eye injury. Avoid exercise for at least one week after the surgery. Avoid dirty and dusty environments. Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunglasses with proper UV protection whenever you are outdoors.

How long does it take to see after LASEK?

How long does it take to see after LASEK? How long does it take to see after LASEK? The discomfort will begin to subside after the first few days, but your vision may still be slightly blurry and light-sensitive for three to seven days post-LASEK. Your vision will gradually improve over the next few weeks, and you should be able to return to work around four to five days after surgery.

Is it normal for vision to fluctuate after LASEK?

Is it normal for vision to fluctuate after LASEK?Six days after LASIK, there is often a difference between the eyes as well as significant fluctuation. As long as your surgeon has looked at your flap and it is smooth and intact, these things will most likely improve as you heal.

Why choose LASEK over LASIK?

Why choose LASEK over LASIK? For example, if your corneas are thin, LASEK may be the better option, as the surgery does not require as much tissue as LASIK does since a flap is not being created. LASEK can also be optimal for significant myopia (nearsightedness) as this will require more of the central cornea to be removed and reshaped.

How long does LASEK last for?

How long does LASEK last for? LASEK eye surgery’s benefits are long-lasting as it permanently changes the shape of the front of your eyes. Many patients treated for short-sight and astigmatism can get a lifetime of improvement for their far vision.

Which is safer LASIK or LASEK?

Which is safer LASIK or LASEK? Both types of eye surgery are safe, effective and have similar results. In general, LASIK eye surgery remains the primary choice for a higher percentage of patients, with LASEK being a good option when a patient isn’t a great candidate for LASIK.

When does vision improve after LASEK?

When does vision improve after LASEK? Whilst you’ll have improved vision just 24 hours after LASIK surgery, recovery from LASEK eye surgery takes a little longer. You’ll be able to see straight away. But it can take between one and two weeks to fully recover your vision.

Why do I see double after LASEK?

Why do I see double after LASEK? LASEK, PRK, and other refractive surgeries can cause double vision. Changes in the cornea can cause light rays to scatter initially rather than focus properly. Fortunately, this problem usually goes away within a few weeks or months.

How many times can you have LASEK?

How many times can you have LASEK? In some cases, you may need a secondary or enhancement surgery after an initial LASIK procedure. In general, there is no limit on how many LASIK procedures you can get in your lifetime. Several factors affect whether or not you are a good candidate for enhancement surgery.

Can you look at screens after LASEK?

Can you look at screens after LASEK? It is best to let them rest for at least a day, or even two, before watching TV. The same is true of other screens. Smartphones, tablets, and computers may need to be avoided a little longer than 24 hours — maybe closer to 48 hours — as they can cause more intense eye strain.

What to expect after Lasek eye surgery?

What to expect after Lasek eye surgery? It’s normal for your eyes to be uncomfortable and watery for the first 24 hours after LASIK surgery (and for around a week after LASEK) and with LASIK, they may be light sensitive for the first few days (again, this may be around a week after LASEK).

Is it normal for eyes to water after LASEK?

Is it normal for eyes to water after LASEK? It is normal for your eyes to be watery and red and for your vision to be blurry. You may also see halos around lights for a few days to a few weeks depending on how quickly you heal.

Does astigmatism make you see double?

Does astigmatism make you see double? The most common symptom of astigmatism is blurred or double vision. If you are only slightly affected, you may not notice anything wrong. More significant astigmatism may cause noticeable distortions of your vision.

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