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What Can I Expect After LASEK Surgery?

What Can I Expect After LASEK Surgery?

LASEK, short for laser sub-epithelial keratomileusis, is a refractive surgery procedure. It is used to treat both myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. 

At Ventura Eye Institute in Camarillo, California, Michael Ragen, MD and our professional team of specialists can diagnose your myopia and/or astigmatism, and tell you if you are a good candidate for LASEK surgery.  


Most people are familiar with the acronym LASIK, which predates LASEK and is a slightly different eye laser surgery. LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, a process during which one laser cuts a small flap in the cornea. The flap is peeled back, another laser reshapes the cornea, then the flap is restored and allowed to heal.

In contrast, LASEK involves using a mild medication that helps to loosen the epithelium, which is the outer layer of the cornea. Instead of cutting a flap directly through it. Once the epithelium has been raised, the guided laser reshapes the cornea, and then the epithelium slowly returns to its original position.

Dr. Ragen is a highly qualified eye surgeon who was a LASEK surgery pioneer and has performed more LASEK procedures than 99% of other doctors in the U.S. He often recommends LASEK over LASIK due to the lowered risk of complications and the higher quality of vision after the surgery.


LASEK is an outpatient procedure and it normally takes less than an hour per eye to raise the epithelium and correctly shape the cornea. You will need someone to drive you home, as your vision will be impaired. 

Cold compresses over your eyes during healing should be enough to deal with any discomfort. You might have what look like pink or yellowish tears leaking from your eyes at times; this is completely normal and not a sign for concern. 

LASEK does have a slightly longer recovery time than LASIK. The epithelium takes time to resettle in place after the procedure. You’ll have to be patient as your eyes heal, and avoid looking at computer or phone screens.

While people who have LASIK surgery often are back to near normal after a few days, expect LASEK recovery to take two weeks. As with LASIK, full results may not be complete until a few months after surgery. However, you’ll notice your vision is much improved as soon as the epithelium is anchored back in place. 

Are you interested in receiving LASEK? You can schedule a consultation by calling our office at 805-388-1211 or by booking online today. 

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