Lasik or Lasek- Which do I choose?
The debate on which laser vision correction procedure is better Lasik or Lasek has been thrashed out many times over the last twenty years. Whilst Lasek/PRK was first to the scene; as technology with Lasik as well as surgical experience has been increasing it is now just as common if not more so.
The key to this debate is to first understand that there is no answer that can be applied to every patient. Every patient is unique and needs to be assessed accordingly, a good laser eye surgeon will take ownership of their patients, will know what their occupation is, how much time they spend doing close work, do they play any contact sports and what their overall risk profile is. Only then can a surgeon give a recommendation on what is the best option. Unfortunately what has happened in the past decade is that many commercial high street clinics have been chasing what is known as the ‘wow factor’, this is when the patient wakes up the morning after their surgery and is amazed by how brilliant their vision is. This can only be achieved with Lasik as we know that Lasek has a longer recovery. But why do clinics chase that wow factor, is it because it is best for the patient or is it because it is best for them commercially as invariably that day the patient is so elated and likely to recommend a few other patients for the surgery.
The true facts are; yes Lasik has a quicker recovery and can fit into patients’ hectic lifestyle, it also has the advantage that retreatments are fairly easy and this is why most monovision and blended vison cases are done only with Lasik. Whilst both Lasek and Lasik are incredibly safe procedures it may be considered that the risk profile of Lasik is slightly higher than Lasek. The possibility of flaps moving or a patient rubbing their eye in the immediate post-operative period needs to be considered carefully. Lasik should not be done in any patient who plays or is likely to play contact sports in the future.
In reality the decision is up to the patient. Not everyone is suitable for Lasik in the first place in which case the decision is easy, but for those that do have the luxury of the choice; a well informed decision is key. This can only be done by discussing with the surgeon who will be operating on you what the pros and cons are. For that an in-depth discussion with your surgeon is necessary, something that is offered in surgeon led practices such as Lumivision. Lasek is gaining traction again due to its safety record and good long term results, for some the delayed recovery is not acceptable but for others a week off work is something they’d gladly consider to get the safest option even if it’s marginal.