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LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)

An abnormal curvature of the cornea (the transparent layer in front of the eye) causes a visual error, where light passing through it does not focus on the photosensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing a blurred or hazy image. LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) is a procedure that uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct the error.

What are the indications of LASEK?

LASEK is indicated to correct near-sightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea) and when the cornea is too thin, steep or dry.

What are the preoperative procedures?

Before performing LASEK surgery, you are instructed to stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time. Your doctor will measure the thickness of your cornea, eye pressure, pupil dilation, visual refractive errors and perform corneal mapping.

How is the procedure performed?

The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. The cornea is treated with an alcohol solution that causes a thin top layer to detach. This is lifted or rolled away and the underlying corneal surface treated with laser. The top layer of the cornea is then replaced and covered with a protective lens which is left on for 3 to 4 days to allow it to heal. You may experience some burning and irritation for the first few days and it should take about a week to completely heal and develop clear vision.

What are the risks associated with LASEK surgery?

LASEK surgery complications can include dry eyes, hazy, cloudy or reduced vision, and a temporary sensation of having a foreign body in your eye.

LASEK, ASLA and PRK are similar procedures. Read about PRK here


  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Opthalmologists
  • Australian Society of Opthalmologists
  • envision eye centre
  • The University of Sydney
  • UNSW
  • NSW Health
  • University of Cambridge
  • UCL
  • Harvard University
  • Sydney Eye Hospital
  • St Vincents Hospital
  • Kinghorn Cancer Centre
  • AMA
  • Sydney Surgical Centre