During LASEK, rather than a microkeratome, a blunt plastic "separator" creates a superficial corneal flap. A diluted alcohol solution is used on the eye to loosen the epithelium and then the epithelium is lifted out of position.

The excimer laser is then applied and the flap is replaced to cover the treated area. LASEK has fewer possible or potential complications than those associated with the microkeratome.

The disadvantage of LASEK is the potential discomfort for two to three days after surgery, delayed visual recovery, and the potential for haze and scarring.