Experience Blade-Free LASIK with the IntraLase® Method
The IntraLase Method is a 100% blade-free approach to creating your LASIK flap – the thin flap of tissue that the doctor folds back in order to perform your LASIK procedure. The IntraLase Method can only be performed using the IntraLase FS or iFS laser.
What is Blade-Free Lasik?
Traditionally, LASIK doctors have used an instrument called a microkeratome for the creation of LASIK flaps. The microkeratome is a hand-held blade that moves across the eye, cutting the LASIK flap as it goes. LASIK is extremely safe, but if complications do occur, the microkeratome is frequently the cause. The IntraLase Method, by contrast, is a 100% blade-free approach to corneal flap creation – enabling your doctor to create an individualized LASIK flap without a blade ever touching your eye.
How Does Blade-Free Lasik Work?
The creation of the corneal flap prepares the eye for the second step of the LASIK procedure, when another laser, known as an excimer laser, is used to correct vision.
Unlike other procedures, the IntraLase Method creates the corneal flap by applying tiny, rapid pulses of laser light – not a metal blade (microkeratome). Each pulse of light passes through the top layers of your cornea and forms a microscopic bubble at a specific depth and position within your eye that is determined by the doctor. As the IntraLase or iFS Laser moves back and forth across your eye, a uniform layer of bubbles forms just below the corneal surface. Your doctor creates your corneal flap by gently separating the tissue where these bubbles have formed.
Because of the way in which the IntraLase Method creates a precisely positioned layer of bubbles just beneath the surface of your eye, it creates a smooth, even surface after your flap is lifted. The flap is then folded back so the doctor can perform the second step of your LASIK procedure.
The IntraLase Method flap creation process takes less than 15 seconds per eye. Including preparation time, the entire LASIK procedure typically takes about 10 minutes. Once the entire procedure is completed, the corneal flap “locks” back into position.
Visx CustomVue™ Individualized Laser Vision Correction was developed by VISX, the company recognized worldwide for bringing innovation and breakthrough technology to laser vision correction. With CustomVue, a new standard in laser vision correction is established, providing a precise level of measurement and correction never before possible.
Using WaveScan®-based digital technology, originally developed for use in high-powered telescopes to reduce distortions when viewing distant objects in space, doctors can now identify, measure, and correct imperfections in an individual’s eyes 25 times more precisely than with standard methods used for glasses and contact lenses. This information is transferred to the laser, providing a new level of precision and accuracy.
Just like a fingerprint, each person’s vision is 100 percent unique to their eyes. Before the recent advancements in technology, doctors were only able to use standard measurements to correct vision, meaning that prescriptions could only provide a certain level of correction regardless of an individual’s needs.
Now, VISX CustomVue can measure and correct the unique imperfections of each individual’s vision and provide them with the potential to experience better vision than is possible with glasses or contact lenses—Personal Best Vision.
Laser Vision Correction Procedure
The laser vision correction process begins with a consultation with your doctor where a patient can learn about the technology and the procedure.
An evaluation follows to assess a patient’s overall health and to measure and create a detailed and unique map of their eyes. Once it’s confirmed that an individual is a good candidate for laser vision correction, the procedure can be scheduled.
On the day of the procedure, anesthetic drops are placed into the patient’s eyes. The patient’s unique correction information is transferred from the WaveScan to the laser. Laser vision correction works by gently reshaping the cornea with the cool beam from the laser to remove microscopic amounts of tissue—less than the thickness of a human hair in most cases—to create a new curvature. The procedure typically takes several seconds and the majority of individuals feel no discomfort. Many patients notice immediate results after CustomVue and vision continues to improve over several days. Routine follow-up visits complete the process.
One year after the CustomVue procedure, patients in a clinical study reported these great results without glasses and contact lenses:
- 100 percent could pass a driving test
- 98 percent could see 20/20 or better
- 70 percent could see better than 20/20
In the clinical study, four times as many people were very satisfied with their night vision after the procedure as compared to their night vision before with glasses or contact lenses.
VISX® lasers have been used to perform millions of laser vision correction procedures in the U.S. and around the world. If you’re over the age of 21, and are nearsighted and/or astigmatic, you may be a candidate for the CustomVue procedure.
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK was the first procedure performed using the Excimer laser. It corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that with LASIK a corneal flap is created and the laser is applied to the inner tissue of the cornea. With PRK, the epithelium (or outer skin of the cornea) is removed and a laser is applied to the surface of the cornea. PRK can be used to correct low to high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
To treat nearsightedness, the steep cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat farsightedness, the flat cornea is made steeper by removing tissue outside of the central optical zone of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat astigmatism, the cornea is made more spherical — like a basketball instead of a football. This eliminates multiple focusing points within the eye and creates one point of focus on the retina. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
PRK is for those who:
- want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts
- are over 18 years of age
- have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
- have no health issues affecting their eyes
- have corneas too thin for LASIK
- have large pupils
What to expect on surgery day:
You will arrive at the laser center about an hour prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked in you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eyes; no injections or needles will be used. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
Next, your doctor will remove the epithelium, a thin layer of protective skin that covers the cornea. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes your cornea. The laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative exam. The laser treatment will be completed in less than a minute or two, depending on the amount of correction needed.
Following your procedure, your eye(s) will be examined with a slit lamp microscope. Your eyes may be shielded for protection. Your vision may be blurry or hazy for one to five days. You will experience some discomfort as the epithelium heals and covers the treated area. Eye drops, pain medication and possibly a protective contact lens can be used to minimize this discomfort. Most patients resume normal activities within one to three days. Vision can fluctuate for up to six months.
The decision to have PRK is an important one that only you can make. The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. However, we cannot guarantee you will have the results you desire. The vast majority of our patients are extremely happy with their vision after PRK and can do most activities without dependence on corrective lenses.
PRK is a safe, effective and permanent procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks. After PRK, almost everyone experiences some visual side effects.These visual side effects are usually mild and temporary and have a tendency to diminish over time. But there is a slight chance that some of these side effects won’t go away completely, including light sensitivity, glare and halos. Serious complications to PRK are extremely rare.
Since everyone heals somewhat differently, some patients may over react to the procedure and some may under react resulting in over corrections and under corrections. Once the eye has stablized (3 to 6 months) you and your doctor can discuss whether a re-treatment could help fine tune your vision if you are over or under corrected.
Alternatives to PRK
PRK is not the only surgical procedure designed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. To learn about other procedures go to the surgical and laser vision correction procedures section of our Web Site. You may also choose to make an appointment, request additional information to learn more about this exciting procedure.
Wavefront Diagnostic Technology
Until recently, laser vision correction treated patients based strictly on their optical prescription. In other words, if you were a minus-four nearsighted person, glasses with minus-four lenses would get you back to seeing the best that you could. If you had laser vision correction, that same prescription would be programmed into the excimer laser and the exact amount of tissue would be removed to make a minus-four into a zero. Anyone who was a minus-four would get the exact same treatment. We call this conventional laser vision correction.
Today, with the advent of wavefront diagnostic technology, wavefront guided excimer lasers can now treat patients according to the uniqueness of their entire optical system, not just their prescription.
How Wavefront Works
Wavefront technology was pioneered for astronomy and physics to aid in reducing aberrations or imperfections in the optical systems of telescopes. In much the same way, wavefront-sensing devices are being used to produce an accurate picture of the optical imperfections found in the human eye. This technology differs from traditional testing methods in its ability to measure the entire optical system of the eye, instead of simply the front surface of the eye. Light travels in a procession of flat sheets known as wavefronts. These wavefronts enter the eye, pass through the entire optical system (the cornea, lens and retina) and are then reflected back. When the optical system has perfect refracting surfaces, these wavefronts exit the eye as flat sheets. But when the cornea is irregular or the lens is imperfect, higher-order aberrations are created, and the wavefronts exit the eye as irregular, curved sheets.
Wavefront technology captures the reflected wavefronts and compares these curved sheets to a perfect wavefront and a 3-D map of the eye’s optical irregularities is created. This map is then transferred to the excimer laser and is used as a guide to reshape the cornea during laser vision treatment.
Results have shown that custom laser vision correction can reduce some of the unwanted visual effects experienced from conventional laser vision correction, especially those associated with night vision such as glare and halos. By addressing both a person’s prescription and the higher order aberrations within their eye’s optical system, custom laser vision correction has the potential of making patients see better than they could with conventional glasses or conventional laser vision correction.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact us at 800-244-9907 to schedule a LASIK consultation today.