Until recently, if you were one of the millions of people with a refractive error, eyeglasses and contact lenses were the only options for correcting vision. But with the arrival of refractive surgery, some people with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism (a cornea with unequal curves), and presbyopia (difficulty reading after the age of 40 and above) may have their vision improved through surgery.
Laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is a refractive procedure that uses a ‘bladeless’ all-laser (femtosecond and excimer laser), or an automated blade and a laser to permanently reshape the cornea.
LASIK is usually performed as an outpatient procedure using topical anesthesia with drops. The procedure itself generally takes about fifteen minutes. The surgeon creates a flap in the cornea with femtosecond laser beam, or a microkeratome. The flap is lifted to the side and the cool beam of the excimer laser is used to remove a layer of corneal tissue. The flap is folded back to its normal position and sealed without sutures. The removal of corneal tissue permanently reshapes the cornea.
A shield protects the flap for the first day and night. Vision should be clear by the next day. Healing after surgery is often less painful than with other methods of refractive surgery since the laser removes tissue from the inside of the cornea and not the surface. If needed, eyedrops can be taken for pain and usually are only needed up to one week.
Some people experience poor night vision after LASIK. The surgery may result in undercorrection or overcorrection, which can often be improved with a second surgery. More rare and serious complications include a dislocated flap, epithelial in-growth and inflammation underneath the flap. Most complications can be managed without any loss of vision. Permanent vision loss is very rare.
The ideal candidate for LASIK procedure has a stable refractive error within the correctable range, is free of eye disease, is at least eighteen years old and is willing to accept the potential risks, complications and side effects of LASIK. The reshaped cornea helps focus light directly onto the retina to produce clearer vision.
Automated microkeratome method to create corneal flap
|WHY BLADELESS FEMTOSECOND LASER TO CREATE CORNEAL FLAP MAY BE BETTER?
In ISEC, we offer both the choices of
1) all-laser femtosecond flap procedure, i.e. no mechanical blade involved in creating the corneal flap, and also
2) the time-tested automated microkeratome (Hansatome XP) system to create the corneal flap
Although both processes results in similar and highly satisfied patients, there may be theoretical advantages in employing the latest femtosecond laser to create the flap instead of using the mechanical microkeratome system.
Femtosecond laser also known as Femto-LASIK surgery is more precise and can create a thinner flap. Because it is computer controlled, the corneal flap created by laser is consistently- and precisely-shaped, and is of a uniformly thin thickness, hence preserving more corneal tissue for added long term safety. There is also no risk of a blade-related corneal flap problem. Moreover, previous studies had suggested femtosecond flaps has less induced optical aberration when compared to the corneal flaps created with microkeratome.
Click above for video animation of an all-laser Femtosecond flap creation
Ultimately, it is your decision as an informed patient, whether you should consider the all-laser bladeless femtosecond-excimer laser LASIK procedure vs microkeratome-excimer laser LASIK procedure, by balancing the potential benefit of the all-laser procedure against the additional cost involved in the femtosecond bladeless LASIK procedure.
Refractive Laser & Aesthetic Surgery Centre