Bladeless LASIK is a new type of eye surgery that can correct common vision problems such as long and shortsightedness. Unlike traditional laser eye surgery, bladeless LASIK does not use a blade to cut through the cornea at the front of the eye. Instead, an extremely precise laser makes a small flap in the cornea, so the surgeon can work inside the eye.
Bladeless LASIK is a quick, comfortable and painless procedure. The eye surgeon begins by inserting eye drops to numb the eye before cutting a flap in the cornea using a femtosecond laser, which delivers short pulses of precisely directed laser energy. Next, the eye surgeon gently lifts the corneal flap out of the way, and then reshapes the tissue inside the eye with an excimer laser, correcting vision problems. The whole procedure takes as little as 15 minutes for both eyes. The patient goes home shortly after surgery and resumes normal activities after a brief period of rest.
Although the name may sound scary to you, an excimer laser is simple a laser that creates energy in the ultraviolet spectrum. The laser consists of a combination of gases charged, or excited by electricity to produce a dimer, which is a type of pseudomolecule.
A pseudomolecule possesses molecule-like qualities and behaviors. The word, “excimer laser,” comes from the phrase, “excited dimer.” The excimer laser is a safe option for eye surgery, because it does not generate heat. It is also highly precise; a critical component for use in vision correction where the finest detail is required.
When the excimer laser targets an object, that object is unable to absorb the energy, which makes the upper layers begin to break down. The energy of the excimer laser dissipates quickly, reducing the risk from lingering radiation. Eye surgeons use the excimer laser to ablate the eye precisely or in other words, to remove material from the surface, thereby changing the shape. They also spend time carefully checking the laser to ensure it is in good working order, as well as calibrating it to configure it to focus in tightly on the exact area without leaving and remaining residual damage.
In traditional laser eye surgery, the surgeon uses a tiny metal blade to cut the flap in the cornea. Bladeless LASIK uses a precise femtosecond laser to make the flap. The next part of the process, in which an excimer laser reshapes tissues inside the eyes, is the same in both procedures.
Several studies and scientific papers have reported on the long-term results of Bladeless LASIK compared to Traditional LASIK; however, the most recent report is unique in that it examines the long-term contrasts in the outcomes of patients by comparing mechanically-produced flaps to laser-produced flaps. The study, conducted at the University of Michigan, examined patients who underwent LASIK with both types of flaps between 7 and 10 years prior. The researchers took vision measurements, optical measurements and evaluated each person for dry eye. What they found was no significant differences in dry eye or the visual and optical outcomes of the patients long-term.
Vision correction specialists introduced laser eye surgery to the UK in 1991. Since that time, the Ultralase network of clinics has spread across the country, successfully correcting the vision of hundreds of thousands of people. Laser vision correction has undergone many improvements over the years and eye health experts now consider Bladeless LASIK (Femtosecond) as the gold standard of vision correction.
Both surgeons and patients are excited about the development of bladeless LASIK. Although no procedure is completely without risk, studies show complication rates are much lower for bladeless LASIK than for the traditional blade-assisted procedure. The delicate flaps made in the corneas are more consistent and the chance of infection is much lower, because there is less chance of foreign material remaining in the eye.
The development of bladeless LASIK eye surgery is particularly good news for many patients who previously may not have been suitable for laser eye surgery. In the past, people with thin corneas were not able to have laser eye correction, but because the flaps made by bladeless LASIK are much thinner than those cut using a blade, even people with thin corneas can benefit from bladeless LASIK surgery. People who have already had eye surgery could also be suitable.
Bladeless LASIK is a viable option for many people who want to correct their vision and end their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. If you are considering bladeless LASIK, book an appointment at a laser eye surgery clinic to discuss your options with a qualified optometrist.