I'm getting LASEK laser eye surgery!
As there seems to be little around on the topic, I thought I would share my experience with you so you know what you are into!
I am moderately near-sighted with circa -5.5 in both eyes and slight (0.5) astigmatism in one. I do not have other eye problems, worn glasses and contacts since I was seven, had stable vision for more than 5 years.
Quick explanation of the two procedures available:
LASIK: A corneal flap is created (in the past using microkeratome, now more common with femtosecond laser), lifted up and correction performed. The flap is then put back in place and left to heal. The results are immediate, recovery time very fast (few days), almost no post-op discomfort. The problem is, the flap that is created never heals completely - that part of the eye will never be as strong as it was. This leads eventually to a (very remote) danger that a sharp impact to the eye could damage or dislocate the flap in the future. I have checked out some facts and while many sites state that such impact would damage the eye anyway this not always seems the case, see: http://lasikcomplications.com/flapdislocation.htm
LASEK: Instead of creating the flap, the epithelial cells are "softened", usually using an alcohol solution and then brushed aside, surgery performed and the epithelial layer put back in place (in case it is not possible to restore the layer this procedure become the old PRK abrasion)and a bandage contact lens is placed on the eyes. This procedure takes longer to heal; the first two days are usually the hardest and best spent sleeping or resting. As the epithelial layer regrows this will result in fluctuations in vision and can take up to 6 months to have the optimal result. It hurts more, takes longer but once the eye has healed it is as good as it was before and there are no structural weaknesses.
I went for LASEK as few days of discomfort and a bit of time to get the optimal vision is nothing compared to having to worry about a part of your eye being dislocated. Even if it is a very rare occurrence, I prefer to be 100% safe about my eyes, whatever I'm doing. My surgeon agreed that if any kind of contact sport was involved, LASEK was a good idea.
I will be getting my surgery done at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital as private patient. I already had my assessment and was deemed suitable, both the staff and the surgeon were extremely professional and put me through all sorts of test to make sure all angles are covered.
As I have researched this quite a bit feel free to ask any questions.
My surgery is on 31st, I will post updates on how it was and the results, stay tuned!