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The newest laser procedure is called LASEK. This was invented in Britain in 1996 by Professor Sunil Shah.
This is still a surface based treatment. A "blister" is caused on the surface of the eye by using some alcohol held in a cup on the eye. The roof of this "blister", the epithelium, is pushed aside as a flap without any cutting. The laser is then applied and then the epithelium placed back down and covered by a bandage contact lens for 3 to 4 days.
There are advantages of LASEK over PRK in terms of rate of healing, haze and pain. There are advantages over LASIK in terms of the small risk in LASIK from cutting the flap. The disadvantages compared to LASIK are slower recovery times and possibly more discomfort.
The quality of vision with LASEK may be superior to LASIK in the lower prescriptions.