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Study Compares Laser Eye Surgery Techniques

Researchers saw no difference between LASIK and newer LASEK

FRIDAY, Dec. 29, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- LASIK and LASEK eye surgeries are equally safe and effective, U.S. researchers conclude.

In LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) surgery, a flap is made in the top layer of the eye's cornea, allowing a surgeon to reshape the underlying cornea.

In LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) surgery, the top layer of the cornea is treated with alcohol and then peeled back to permit reshaping of the underlying layer. LASEK avoids the flap-related complications associated with LASIK.

For this study, which appeared in the December issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared the effectiveness of 122 LASIK procedures and 122 LASEK procedures. They looked at a number of measures, including visual acuity and astigmatism.

The team found no clinically significant differences between the two types of laser eye surgery.

"We found that although there were some differences in the visual and refractive results that favor the LASEK procedure, the differences were not clinically significant," Dr. Dimitri Azar, field chair of ophthalmologic research and professor and head of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a prepared statement.

"Both procedures seem safe, effective and predictable for the treatment of low to moderate myopia (near-sightedness)," Azar said.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has more about vision repair surgery.

SOURCE: University of Illinois at Chicago, news release, Dec. 21, 2006
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