Traditional LASIK vs. Bladeless LASIK

Did you know that LASIK eye surgery technology is constantly improving? This is great news for anyone who wishes they had better, clearer vision. Though the basic procedure is still pretty much the same, the improved technology has made significant changes in the safety of LASIK, not to mention making it more accessible to more people. 

We at Davis Vision Center in Utah make sure to use the best tech available for our patients, and we want you to know the powerful impact the latest LASIK tech can have on your vision. And since you’re probably wondering how this new technology is safer - Here’s everything you need to know about bladeless LASIK and other updates to LASIK tech right now:

What’s the Difference Between Traditional LASIK and Bladeless LASIK?

The biggest difference between traditional LASIK and bladeless LASIK is the tool. But before we explain what that difference is, you need a little background on how the LASIK eye surgery procedure typically goes.

Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson - your eye has several different parts. The iris is the colored part of your eye and is a group of small muscles that adjust the size of your pupil. Behind the iris is the lens of the eye, and in front of the iris is the cornea. So when you look at someone’s eye, the clear part you see over their iris is the cornea. 

The cornea is the most important part of the eye in LASIK eye surgery.

LASIK surgery modifies the tissue of your cornea with a laser. But before those modifications can happen, the cornea needs to be more accessible. So a small incision is made in the outer tissue of the cornea, creating a flap which is then lifted to the side so the laser can modify the inner tissue of the cornea.

That’s the basic procedure of LASIK. Now back to our question - what is the difference between traditional and bladeless LASIK surgery?

The difference is the tool used to create the flap in the outer tissue of the cornea. Traditionally, a surgical blade was used to make the incision. The blade worked, but it raised certain concerns about the safety of the procedure. People whose eyes were more at-risk were unable to receive LASIK.

But now, things have changed. We don’t need to use a blade to create the incision anymore - we can now use a laser.

Why the IntralaseTM FS Laser is Safer

Creating the flap on the cornea may be the most delicate part of LASIK eye surgery. The flap needs to be created correctly to perform the rest of the surgery. The flap is also essential to the recovery process after LASIK surgery because it is laid back over the eye and acts as a natural bandage. Corneal tissue heals quickly, so if the flap was cut well, it will safely cover the cornea and no stitches will be required for the eye to heal. 

The problem with traditional LASIK was that the blades sometimes didn’t cut the flap incision as well as was needed. This occasionally resulted in flaps with defects that hindered proper surgery and healing. 

Some surgeons still argue in favor of using a blade, but many surgeons have opted to switch to the IntralaseTM FS (femtosecond) Laser in their surgeries. It creates cleaner incisions and has fewer complications with the flap when it is lifted and placed back down. 

The IntralaseTM FS Laser also allows for a more customized incision for each patient and each eye. No eye is exactly the same, and creating customized surgeries gives patients better long-term results.

That’s why at Davis Vision Center, we choose to use the IntralaseTM FS Laser in LASIK eye surgeries. We want our patients to come away from their surgery thrilled with the results, and we feel the IntralaseTM FS Laser can best accomplish that.

IntralaseTM FS Laser vs. Excimer Laser

You might be wondering if the IntralaseTM FS Laser is the same as the laser used to modify the inner tissue of the cornea. However, this is not the case. In LASIK surgeries using the IntralaseTM FS Laser, there are actually two different types of lasers used, and the IntralaseTM FS Laser is used only for creating the flap on the outer corneal tissue. 

The laser that modifies the corneal tissue is called an excimer (short for “excited dimmer”) laser. It’s a cool laser, which means that when it touches your eye, your eye won’t heat up or be burned. Instead, the laser generates UV light that absorbs or breaks down the tissue instead. 

The excimer laser is an extremely safe and precise laser to use for eye surgery. It can focus on areas significantly smaller than the width of a human hair, so the adjustments made to your eye are very accurate. 

Another Improvement to LASIK Tech

One of our favorite new developments in LASIK surgery is the Custom Vue Wavefront system. It performs a scan of your eyes before the surgery to take exact measurements of each eye while also checking your eye for any high order aberrations (imperfections) in your eyes that need to be corrected to give you your best vision.

This system also involves Visx Iris Registration technology, which finds and tracks spots on your iris throughout the surgery. Tracking those spots on your iris helps the excimer laser make more exact corrections to your eye even if you move during surgery.

LASIK has long been considered one of the safest surgeries in the medical field. But with the advances we’re seeing in LASIK technology, it’s quickly becoming far safer for more people, including you. 

What iLASIK Means for Former LASIK Candidates

One major problem with traditional LASIK was that many people couldn’t qualify as good LASIK candidates. The risks were too high and the technology too uncertain. But with the IntralaseTM FS Laser, that has changed for some people.

While not everyone can receive LASIK eye surgery, it is true that more people can be considered as candidates now with the updated technology than ever before. So if you’ve been rejected as a candidate for LASIK in the past, find out what the new qualifications are for the surgery. You may have your eyes reassessed and find out that you now qualify for LASIK even though you didn’t before. 

If you want to see if you can qualify for LASIK eye surgery at our office in Utah, first check out this article about the fundamental eligibility criteria for LASIK. Then contact us at 801-253-3080 with any questions or to set up an appointment with Dr. Davis.