BLADE FREE INTRALASE ‘FEMTOSECOND’ LASIK
As the name suggests, the blade-free, or bladeless IntraLase method does not use a blade [microkeratome] in the LASIK eye surgery procedure. Instead, it uses 2 distinct lasers to make the eye surgery more comfortable:
a femtosecond laser creates a thin corneal flap, and
an excimer laser, directed at the newly exposed eye surface, alters the shape of the cornea in the required fashion.
IntraLase is a type of femtosecond pulse laser that is ultra-short. Eye surgeons use the IntraLase femtosecond laser to create the protective flap over your cornea instead of the usual microkeratome (surgical blade), and if you’re wondering, ‘femtosecond’ means one quadrillionth of a second! (Yes, that’s how fast the laser operates.)
Also known as the all-laser LASIK or IntraLASIKTM, this procedure takes 15-20 seconds per eye to create the corneal flap and approximately 10 minutes to complete the surgical process.
Unlike the excimer laser which produces argon fluoride pulses, the blade free IntraLase femtosecond laser produces near infrared pulses that do not get absorbed by optically clear tissue, making it safer for your eye.
HOW DOES BLADELESS LASIK BENEFIT YOU?
The bladeless IntraLase method allows surgeons to tailor the corneal flap for each patient individually. Thus, patients get a customized experience suited just for them.
There is greater precision, attributed to micron level accuracy, and better visual result.
High degree of safety & predictability makes this method especially suited for difficult cases like, thin, flat or steeper corneas.
Less epithelial damage is experienced as compared to a microkeratome cut hence, there are less post operative complications.
Even in dim illumination, night driving especially, better contrast sensitivity is observed.
Most patients who have undergone the blade-free IntraLase femtosecond LASIK eye surgery have reported faster recovery, fewer corneal flap-related complications, and fewer induced higher order aberrations (contributed to halos & glares).
HOW IS BLADE-FREE INTRALASE FEMTOSECOND LASIK SURGERY PERFORMED?
Anaesthetic drops are applied to the eye
A ring is placed over the eye to flatten the cornea in preparation for the blade free IntraLase method
The femtosecond laser beam applies a series of micro bubbles in the central layer of the cornea to create a corneal flap of predetermined dimensions.
This laser is computer controlled to move circumferentially and make a slight side cut in the cornea. The dimensions simply need to be entered into the computer, and the laser does its job.
After this step, the regular LASIK eye surgery procedure is observed, but the results obtained have been reported to be much better.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED BLADE-FREE LASIK?
The femtosecond laser in bladeless IntraLase LASIK surgery operates at very high speeds (one quadrillionth of a second) and, therefore, accurately creates the corneal flap without heat or impact to surrounding tissue.
Studies have shown that bladeless IntraLase LASIK results in fewer complications than the regular LASIK (with blade). But certain post-operative complications reported include:
Higher rate of light sensitivity, such as photophobia. This can be caused by any kind LASIK - blade or bladeless, but this can be resolved within a few weeks by using eye drops.
Seeing a ‘rainbow effect’ around light sources. Though this effect is minimal and has been adjusted for via recent technological advancements in the field of bladeless IntraLase LASIK eye surgery.
Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK) causing inflammation around the corneal flap. There have been only a handful of cases reporting this. But usage of blades is said to cause more epithelial damage.
The debate between Blade vs Bladeless LASIK is a never-ending one. The trade-off for extra safety with the use of bladeless LASIK is simply higher cost.
To know more about blade free IntraLase femtosecond LASIK eye surgery, read the FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between a corneal flap created with a microkeratome (surgical blade) and that created with the blade free IntraLase method?
- The microkeratome is a hand-held instrument which containing a steel blade that oscillates to create a cut as it travels across the cornea. It can make only a single, one-dimensional cut across the cornea and can leave an irregular surface after the flap is lifted.On the other hand, the blade free IntraLase method creates a precisely positioned layer of bubbles just beneath the surface of your eye, making it smooth when the flap is lifted. Like the name suggests, with this method a blade never touches your eye.
Is the blade free IntraLase method painful?
- Before creating the corneal flap, the eye surgeon applies anaesthetic drops to numb the eye, followed by placing a special ring to gently flatten the cornea in preparation of the IntraLase method. There is no pain experienced here, only slight pressure.
What is the reaction of patients who have experienced the IntraLase method?
- In a clinical survey of LASIK patients who had their corneal flaps created using a microkeratome in one eye and the blade free IntraLase Method in the other, the vision in the IntraLase-treated eye was preferred 3-to-1 (among those who stated a preference).
Is the blade free IntraLase method right for you?
- If you are looking for a 100% blade free LASIK experience that virtually eliminates almost all the severe, sight-threatening complications, the answer is yes.
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