LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses) is a surgical procedure that reshapes the cornea, the front window of your eye, to improve your vision. This procedure is generally safe, effective, and has very few side effects. LASIK eye surgery has helped millions of people see clearly without dependence on glasses or contact lenses. It has made those with active lifestyles happy again. For contact lens wearers, the hassles associated with contacts can be a thing of the past! LASIK is a quick and relatively painless vision correction procedure with an excellent track record of success.
During LASIK the surgeon first applies anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye for surgery. Next, a suction ring is applied that is designed to hold the eye steady and also confirms the pressure of the eye. The LASIK surgeon then creates a thin corneal flap using all laser technology. The corneal flap is lifted up, and the excimer laser is applied to the exposed interior surface of the cornea to reshape the tissue. The computer-controlled excimer laser removes the tissue under the flap and reshapes the cornea of the affected eye. The flap is then repositioned over the treated area. The corneal flap serves a natural bandage, which eliminates the discomfort associated with other types of refractive surgery, and expedites the healing process. Because of the extraordinary bonding properties of the corneal tissue, stitches are not needed to keep the flap in place postoperatively. Eye drops will be applied to assist with the healing process.
Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a procedure that is approved by the FDA to treat mild to moderate degrees of myopia, hyperopia and/or astigmatism. It is a surface ablation technique that is an alternative to LASIK for certain individuals.
IntraLase is a blade-free laser technology that performs the first step of the LASIK procedure: creating the corneal flap. IntraLase improves the overall safety profile and visual results of LASIK. The IntraLase laser is dramatically less likely to produce seriously thin flaps or extremely thick flaps, events which could lead to complications.
How IntraLase Works:
Unlike the microkeratome blade, which cuts across the cornea to create the flap, IntraLase doesn’t cut the cornea; in fact, it never touches the outer cornea but rather creates the flap using an “inside-out” process, virtually eliminating severe sight-threatening complications as a result. The INTRALASE® FS laser uses an infrared beam of light to create the flap from below the surface of the cornea. The beam of laser light is focused to a precise point within the stroma (central layer of the cornea), where a string of tiny bubbles is formed. Thousands of these microscopic bubbles are precisely positioned to define the flap’s dimensions and distinct beveled edge, as well as the location of the hinge. Bubbles are then stacked along the edge of the flap up to the corneal surface to complete the flap. The process from start to finish takes approximately 45 seconds.
The surgeon then lifts the flap to allow for treatment by the excimer laser. When treatment is complete, the flap is accurately repositioned, thanks to its beveled edge.
With IntraLase, the surgeon can precisely control the critical first step of LASIK. Pre-programmed laser specifications include flap diameter, depth, hinge location and width, and side-cut architecture – factors which may vary by patient. IntraLase flaps also feature a distinctive beveled edge, which allows for precise repositioning, alignment, and seating of the flap after LASIK is completed. This ability to personalize specific parameters is impossible with a microkeratome or other hand-held bladed instrument.
IntraLase is the most sophisticated and accurate technology for corneal flap creation available today and has given patients greater confidence in choosing vision correction surgery. The higher degree of assurance and safety, virtually no risk of severe sight-threatening complications and more predictable outcomes have been shown to increase patient satisfaction in their LASIK experience and outcome.
Advantages of Intralase
- Improved Safety: Eliminates the most severe microkeratome-related complications, including invasive corneal incisions and button-hole flaps.
- Better Vision: Patients achieve statistically better vision when IntraLase is used in the LASIK procedure. In comparison with microkeratome-initiated LASIK, more patients achieved 20/20 vision and those with a preference preferred the postoperative vision of their IntraLase treated eye 3-to-1.
- Highest Degree of Predictability and Precision: Micron-level precision creates significantly more predictable and accurate flap dimensions, including, most critically, reproducible flap thickness, within ± 10 microns, whereas variability with microkeratomes has been reported up to ± 40 microns. This increased precision preserves valuable corneal tissue and improves the predictability of the LASIK treatment.
- Fewer Retreatments: The number of LASIK retreatments (or enhancements) is significantly lower for laser-created corneal flaps, avoiding the patient inconvenience of subsequent surgeries and the increased surgeon costs entailed with reoperations.
- Reduced Dry Eye Symptoms: In several clinical studies, standard tests performed to diagnose dry eye show a significant reduction in symptoms, the largest of which shows patient symptoms were reduced by 72 percent. This lower occurrence of dry eye symptoms may be due to the uniform and typically thinner flap, creating less disruption of nerves in the cornea.
- Individualized Flaps: The laser flap can be tailored to the individual patient’s needs, allowing physicians to individualize all steps in the LASIK procedure: custom diagnosis with wavefront; personalized flap creation with IntraLase, and, custom laser treatment with custom ablation.