The key differences between the two procedures is mainly in how the corneal flap is cut. During traditional LASIK, the corneal flap is cut with a sharp blade called a microkeratome. During LASEK, the outer corneal flap, or epithelium, is cut in a thin piece that is hinged to the eye. In order to lift the epithelium surgeons use an alcohol solution to saturate the eye and a special tool called a trephine. Once this flap has been lifted, the laser can then begin to reshape the cornea.
LASEK is usually the best choice for patients whose cornea’s may be too thin for traditional LASIK. This procedure was created mainly to help reduce the potential for complications when the corneal flap created during LASIK does not have the ideal thickness.