LASEK (laser subepithelial keratomileusis)

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2002 Aug;13(4):261-3. doi: 10.1097/00055735-200208000-00014.


Laser subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) is a relatively new refractive surgical technique that purportedly combines the advantages of laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Like LASIK, on the one hand, it employs a "flap" and consequently has the advantages of faster visual recovery, less postoperative pain, reduced stromal haze, and faster epithelial healing than PRK. Like PRK, on the other hand, because the procedure is performed on the anterior cornea, there are virtually no flap- or interface-related complications per se. It may thus be safer for patients who are at an inherently higher risk of developing flap complications, such as those with small palpebral fissures, deep-set eyes, corneal basement membrane dystrophy, and extremely steep or flat corneas. Furthermore, it conserves precious stroma in eyes with thin corneas or high myopia, which otherwise may not qualify for LASIK. It may also be more apropos for patients whose jobs or recreational activities put them at a higher risk of corneal trauma. In a very timely fashion, for reasons discussed below, LASEK may also prove to be superior to LASIK in customized ablations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epithelium, Corneal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Keratomileusis, Laser In Situ / methods*
  • Refractive Surgical Procedures*