LASEK is a modification of PRK, meant to decrease postoperative discomfort and shorten healing time. This procedure is also referred to as surface ablation. Rather than totally removing the surface epithelium, as in PRK, the surgeon loosens the epithelium and moves it aside, creating a superficial epithelial flap. Excimer laser treatment is then performed, similar to PRK. Once complete, the epithelium is gently replaced and a contact lens is placed on the eye.

LASEK/PRK may have advantages for certain patients, particularly those with thinner corneas or relatively small refractive errors. Surface ablation may also be a better option for patients with mild dry eye, as LASEK is less likely than LASIK to exacerbate this condition. Your surgeon may discuss this with you as an alternative to LASIK.