Since LASIK was first approved in 1999, it has been regarded as a safe and successful method of vision correction. Even so, you are not alone if you feel hesitant to move forward with surgery, wondering what future advancements may hold. We know the decision to have LASIK surgery is a big one, so we take great care to determine what is best for you as our patient. That is why we offer the bladeless LASIK treatment using the IntraLase method.
How Does the IntraLase Method Improve the LASIK Procedure?
The IntraLase method is a 100% bladeless approach to creating a corneal flap, the thin layer of tissue the doctor folds back to expose the part of the eye that is reshaped during the LASIK procedure. The IntraLase bladeless method minimises the most severe, sight-threatening LASIK complications by using a computer-guided laser to create your corneal flap. It also enables the doctor to tailor-make the corneal flap based on what is best for your eye. Now you can have a LASIK procedure that is 100% bladeless and has been shown to improve visual outcomes.
Prior to the IntraLase method, doctors created corneal flaps with an instrument called a microkeratome, which is a fine, oscillating, hand-held steel blade. Although LASIK complications are extremely rare, when they do happen, the microkeratome is commonly the cause.
The IntraLase method, by contrast, eliminates the need to use a blade. Instead, the computer-guided IntraLase laser delivers rapid pulses of light, a quadrillionth of a second each, to a pre-programmed depth and position within your cornea. Each pulse forms a microscopic bubble. As the IntraLase laser moves back and forth across your eye, the bubbles connect to form a corneal flap. Just prior to LASIK surgery, the doctor gently lifts the flap where these bubbles have created a smooth surface. When the LASIK treatment is over, the flap is securely repositioned into place. This bladeless, computer-guided technology is more accurate than most of the mechanical microkeratomes.
How the IntraLase Method Works?
Unlike mechanical instruments, the IntraLase technology is able to programme the dimensions of your flap based on what is best for your eyes. Then the IntraLase laser creates your flap from below the surface of the cornea – without ever cutting it. How?
1. Ultra-fast pulses of laser light position microscopic bubbles at a precise depth determined by the doctor.
2. The laser light passes harmlessly through your cornea. Then the laser creates rows of these bubbles just beneath your corneal surface as it moves back and forth across your eye in a uniform plane.
3. Next, the IntraLase laser stacks bubbles around your corneal flap diameter to create the edges of your flap. These bubbles are stacked at an angle that is determined by the doctor and is individualised to the way your eye is shaped.
4. The process takes only 30 seconds from start to finish – it is quiet and comfortable.
5. The doctor then gently lifts the flap to allow for the second step of your LASIK treatment. When treatment is complete, the flap easily “locks” back into position and rapidly begins to heal.
LASIK surgery has advanced steadily over the years; the technology used to measure your visual error prior to surgery has become advanced and corrections can be optimised to your needs. Until the IntraLase method, however, the creation of the corneal flap was the one step that lacked the technological sophistication of the rest of the LASIK procedure. As it turns out, that step is an important one in terms of providing you with an optimum LASIK experience.
In addition, if you were not eligible for LASIK surgery performed with a microkeratome due to steep, flat or thin corneas, you may now be a candidate with the IntraLase method. In fact, IntraLase training has become part of the curriculum at most ophthalmic teaching institutions and is rapidly being adopted by eye care practices around the world.