Blade Free Could Still Mean Cutting

Doctor Andrew Tharp is performing lasek spelled with an "e" which stands for epithelium, the protective barrier around the eye.

Traditional lasik spelled with an "i" requires cutting that barrier to make a flap.

With this blade-free technique, he uses alcohol to loosen it up.

Now, something called mitomycin c applied to the eye will prevent an inflammatory reaction that could lead to regression, haze or scarring.

At the end, Dr. Tharp rolls back the epithelium to make it look like it did before surgery.

Dr. Tharp says that layer goes back as a single sheet which is really amazing.

Really amazing, but is it really necessary?

Doctor Tharp says for this patient, yes, because he has a thin cornea and in rare cases, traditional lasik can make the cornea even thinner.

Cutting out that flap can also mean it will slip, wrinkle or debris will get underneath it.

But those complications are rare. So for most people, Dr. Tharp says if they have a thick enough cornea and they don't have a lifestyle where they're at risk for trauma, they're probably going to be happier just to have a flap and have both eyes done in one sitting and go to work the next day.

So the trade-off for is a safer surgery, but a longer recovery.

Instead of going back to work the next day, lasek patients heal within 3 to 7 days.