Both LASIK and LASEK surgeries are corrective methods for vision problems. LASIK surgery is a procedure that uses lasers to correct things like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASEK, laser epithelial keratomileusis, is another type of eye surgery that treats the same conditions using LASIK techniques as well as those of PRK, photorefractive keratectomy, which was the predecessor to the LASIK procedure. While the two sound quite similar, there are differences between them. To better understand what each is, a comparison of LASEK vs LASIK has been created.

Corrective Uses

The purposes of both of these procedures are refractive error correction. This is a physical issue that causes nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. There is no difference between the two procedures in terms of corrective use.

Procedure Length

When looking at LASEK vs LASIK, there is also no difference in the length of the procedures. Each one is performed as an outpatient procedure that can take a total of 15 minutes per eye.

Procedural Notes

This is where the differences between the two eye treatments come into play. LASEK surgery is where the doctor cuts the epithelium of the eye to a thickness of 50 microns. The stroma is left uncut. Whereas both are cut in LASIK surgery. Another difference is that with LASIK surgery the epithelium is cut to a thickness of 100 to 180 microns. Another difference between the procedures is the blades used. In LASEK surgery a trephine blade is used while in LASIK surgery a microkeratome knife, which is not as fine as the trephine blade, is used. Once the cutting is done in both surgeries, a laser removes corneal tissues left behind.

Healing & Recovery

One of the most important aspects of the debate is the recovery time. You can recover from LASIK surgery faster than LASEK. The healing time for LASIK surgery is anywhere from two days to one week; you’ll be allowed to drive again from one to three days after surgery. With LASEK surgery the flap edges that were repaired will heal in about a day but you’ll need to wait a week before driving again and won’t be at 100 percent until at least six weeks later. All in all, LASEK has a recovery time of anywhere from four to seven days.


Both surgeries will benefit you in correcting your vision problems. LASIK surgery tends to lead to less discomfort than LASEK procedures, however. LASIK surgery is better for those with thicker corneal tissue and leads to 20/20 vision but can cause some corneal haze. LASEK is better for people who are poor candidates for LASIK surgery based on their thickness of corneal tissue. There is almost no occurrence of corneal haze with LASEK and no complications of the stromal flap which can occur after LASIK. LASIK also has more risk of dry eye than LASEK.

Potential Drawbacks

With LASIK surgery, people who have thinner corneas might not see the best results. They might also experience trauma if the flap dislodges. Astigmatism could develop if the flap edges are uneven and there is also a risk of scarring on the flaps. LASIK can also need post-operational treatment (5 percent of the time).

LASEK leads to more discomfort than LASIK and takes longer to heal. Similar problems regarding the flap are also possible. This procedure also has more contraindications than LASIK.

Indications for Procedure

In order to have LASIK surgery, you have to have a corneal tissue that reaches a required thickness that equals over 6 diopters of refractive error. If the tissue doesn’t reach this requirement, LASEK can be used instead.

In both procedures, qualification screenings are done. Patients must be between 18-years-old and 40-years-old with vision under -14 diopters of nearsightedness, less than +6 diopters of farsightedness, and less than 6 diopters of astigmatism. There must also be no history of eye disease.

You won’t be considered a candidate for either if you’re not of age or if you don’t meet the corrective range of vision needed. Pregnant women and nursing mothers also won’t be considered for either procedure. And By The way. Don’t forget to learn more about LASIK Surgery Procedure, complications, Benefits and side effects.


Both have their risks but there is less than 1 percent of patients who experience serious issues after proper screening was done and the procedure was done properly. When looking at LASEK vs LASIK, the differences are slim but should be noted when considering either procedure. Consult with your doctor to find out which is best for your individual needs.