LASEK vs. LASIK: What’s the Difference?

Wondering if there’s a difference between LASIK vs LASEK? The answer is yes

Like many others, you’re probably all too familiar with LASIK eye surgery, the industry’s most common laser eye surgery. But what is LASEK? And is it the better solution for your vision needs? Michigan Eye Institute is here to help you decipher the two. 

Though both procedures share similarities, they do have their differences. Let’s take a closer look. 


LASEK and LASIK are eye surgical procedures that help alleviate vision problems, including astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. Both use excimer lasers to reshape the cornea. Most importantly, both deliver high success rates. 

The differences, however, largely lie in procedure and recovery. 

What is LASEK? 

With LASEK, laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy, the surgeon detaches, moves, and reattaches the top layer of the cornea.

Combining LASIK and PRK, LASEK’s procedure loosens the cornea with an excimer laser and a diluted alcohol solution, such as ethanol. The surgeon then sweeps the tissue and reshapes the stroma. Instead of completely discarding the tissue, the surgeon will move an ultra-thin flap to the side of the cornea, where it is later repositioned. 

It takes approximately three to five days for the cornea’s outer layer to regenerate and recover. During that time, a patient will have a medicated bandage that protects the eyes while healing. 

What is LASIK?

LASIK, laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, employs a femtosecond laser to cut the cornea’s top flap and fold it back to reach the stromal tissue’s core. 

The femtosecond laser will split the corneal flap by forming a precise gas bubble. From there, the surgeon reshapes the stroma, then replaces the flap, allowing the flap to naturally re-seal. 

No medical devices, such as stitches are needed for this healing process. In fact, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a day to completely heal from LASIK. Vision is also known to clear just hours after surgery. 

If you have further questions about LASEK and LASIK surgeries, speak with an eye expert at Michigan Eye Institute! We’re happy to discuss the best eye treatment for you. Book an appointment today. 

lasik procedure

Pros and Cons of LASEK and LASIK

Though both have high success rates, each shares pros and cons of their own. Here’s a look at each surgery’s advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of LASEK 

  • Great eye treatment alternative for those with thin corneas.
  • Compared to LASIK, dry eye side effects are less common. 
  • No risks of corneal flap complications. 

Cons of LASEK

  • Longer recovery time of three to five days. Can take even longer for vision to clear. 
  • Known to experience more discomfort and pain. 
  • If the corneal structure is compromised, the risk for hazy vision increases. 

Pros of LASIK

  • Faster healing time of 24 hours. Vision typically clears a few hours after surgery. 
  • Generally less invasive.
  • Minor discomfort or any pain.
  • Known to have fewer complications. 

Cons of LASIK

  • Common side effects include dry eyes. 
  • Higher risk of experiencing complications involving the corneal flap.
  • If experiencing head trauma before completely healing, the flap can dislodge.

Cost Difference of LASEK vs LASIK

The cost for LASEK and LASIK may vary, depending on eye care coverage and other factors. But when it comes to it, LASIK generally costs more than LASEK. 

The average cost of LASIK averages at $2,100, while LASEK varies from $1,500 – $2,500. 

Please keep in mind: though LASIK typically costs more, you’ll experience less recovery time and discomfort. 

LASEK vs LASIK: Which One Are You a Candidate for? 

Both candidates should have good general eye health and be free of eye diseases, including keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal diseases, and more. You also must be at least 18 years old. 

As far as comfort concerns, LASIK has a faster healing time and is considered less invasive. 

LASEK, however, is a great alternative for people with thin corneas and not enough tissue to create a flap needed for LASIK. 

Ultimately, we recommend speaking with an eye physician to determine the best eye treatment for you. Schedule an appointment today with Michigan Eye Institute for a consultation. 

lasik vs lasek

Still, Have Questions? Michigan Eye Institute Can Help!

You still have questions, and we’re here to assist. Determining which eye procedure is best for you isn’t an easy task. Fortunately, Michigan Eye Institute is with you on your journey to better vision.

Our accommodating, certified staff will help you with the most concerning questions regarding your eye health. Before deciding on a corrective eye procedure, speak to experts that know what’s best. 

Please Keep In Mind

Michigan Eye Institute does not perform LASEK eye surgical procedures. However, you’ll be happy to hear that we do offer PRK services as a rewarding alternative. Our PRK services, such as our high-quality LASIK treatment, have helped thousands of patients enhance their eyesight and reduce their corrective lens dependency. No matter your eye concerns, we will help you find a treat that’s perfect for you. 

Live a life of clear vision. Schedule an appointment with Michigan Eye Institute today! No matter what questions or concerns you have about your vision, our expert physicians will answer them all and ensure you get the best treatment. 

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