Bladeless LASIK

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Bladeless LASIK Eye Surgery

After going to your consultation and finding out that LASIK is right for you, your doctor will also recommend which type of LASIK would best correct your vision. Bladeless LASIK is one option and is considered to be the premium type because it is typically has fewer risk and complications than other types of LASIK.

Bladeless LASIK, also known as IntraLase or all-laser LASIK differs from other LASIK surgeries because the flap is created using a laser as opposed to a manual blade. With bladeless, people with thin corneas who once were unsuitable for LASIK may now be candidates due its precision, and its ability to consistently producing corneal flaps thin enough to treat those patients who were previously not candidates.

With the help of the Femtosecond computer technology, the surgeon is able to create a tiny flap in the patient’s cornea. With the control of the computer, the laser operates at extremely high speeds, allowing tissue to be targeted and divided at the molecular level without heat or impact to surrounding tissue. The bladeless laser results in a corneal flap that is created in a much more precise manner than the traditional microkeratome blade. Then, the standard laser, used in most LASIK surgeries, is brought in to make the appropriate adjustments.

Bladeless LASIK tends to allow the patient to heal quicker due to the fact that the surgeon is able to make a more accurate, even flap on the eye that will fall back into place naturally. Although both bladeless LASIK and Traditional LASIK eye surgery have a possibility of complications, Studies have shown that bladeless LASIK surgery results in fewer overall LASIK complication rates.

The difference in flap structure created by the laser as opposed to the microkeratome blade used in Traditional LASIK may reduce the chance of cells growing underneath and pushing up the flap (epithelial in-growth) to create an irregular corneal surface with accompanying vision defects. Nevertheless, eye surgeons recently have reported one postoperative complication using bladeless of unusual light sensitivity such as photophobia that appears unique to this specific type of LASIK.

Surgeons favoring Bladeless LASIK emphasize that light sensitivity is a temporary side effect that soon resolves. Studies have also shown that bladeless LASIK may also produce a lower incidence of postoperative dry eye and fewer enhancements are required with bladeless LASIK. Another advantage of bladeless is it allows a wider variety of people to get LASIK. For example, people with thin corneas who once were unsuitable for bladed LASIK may now be candidates due its precision, and its ability to consistently produce thin corneal flaps.

Bladeless LASIK versus Traditional LASIK

The method used by bladeless lasers to create cornea flaps is claimed to enhance the safety of LASIK vision correction. Bladeless uses laser energy to replace the microkeratome blade traditionally used to create a thin flap in the clear front covering of the eye (cornea).  During LASIK surgery, the corneal flap is lifted and the cornea is reshaped to achieve sharper focus. The flap is then replaced to serve as a type of naturally protective "bandage" for healing. Traditional LASIK uses a microkeratome blade to create the corneal flap.

While LASIK complications are relatively rare, they are sometimes associated with the blade used with a traditional microkeratome. These metal blades might create uneven flap edges, resulting in abnormal corneal surfaces and vision defects such as irregular astigmatism. Bladeless LASIK creates flaps through infrared laser energy that inserts a precise pattern of tiny, overlapping bubbles just below the corneal surface.

The bladeless laser operates at extremely high speeds (pulses of one quadrillionth of a second), allowing tissue to be targeted and divided at a molecular level without heat or impact to surrounding tissue. The bladeless laser results in a corneal flap created at a precise depth and diameter pre-determined by the LASIK surgeon.

Bladeless LASIK Complications

Studies have shown that bladeless results in fewer overall LASIK complication rates. This difference in flap structure may reduce the chance of cells growing underneath and pushing up the flap (epithelial in-growth) to create an irregular corneal surface with accompanying vision defects. Nevertheless, eye surgeons recently have reported one postoperative complication using bladeless of unusual light sensitivity such as photophobia that appears unique to the use of the bladeless in LASIK. However, surgeons report that the photophobia complication is temporary and can be resolved with steroid treatment (eye drops) lasting only a few weeks.

LASIK surgeons favoring bladeless emphasize that light sensitivity is a temporary side effect that soon resolves. Study results have shown that LASIK with bladeless may produce a lower incidence of postoperative dry eye. In addition, fewer enhancement ("touch-up") procedures appear to be required when LASIK is performed with bladeless technology. However, the tradeoff for potentially increased safety with the use of bladeless is accompanying additional LASIK procedure costs of about $400 per eye, according to Review of Ophthalmology.

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