LASIK Vision correction was first approved by the FDA for use in 1995. LASIK is short for Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis and is the most used laser eye correction procedure globally. It is one of the safest, and most effective, ways to correct vision. Over time, the LASIK procedure and associated equipment have been improved to improve precision, safety, and overall results.
Luckily for patients and doctors alike, the LASIK technology has continued to improve, offering more precise treatment for a larger portion of the population.
Conventional LASIK. This was the first LASIK procedure to be approved and performed. It was a huge leap forward in vision correction, but treatment is based on a subjective phoropter-derived manifest refraction. The doctor would decide the correct manifest refraction for the patient, input that information into the laser, and perform a 3 D myopic correction with the aid of a bladed instrument called a microkeratome. Because the conventional LASIK treatment was based on the phoropter, increments were limited to 0.25, making the surgery less precise. For example, a 3D, 3.25D, or a 3.5D could be corrected by a 3.37 could not be, so there were significant limitations or gaps in preciseness.
Femtosecond Laser. This is a laser that is used in the newer bladeless LASIK surgery. Instead of using a microkeratome, the doctor can utilize this laser. The benefit is that the laser simply utilizes short pulses of energy using an infrared wavelength, offering greater precision in cutting. With the introduction of the laser many advantages have been found including:
- Fewer complications associated with the flap
- Less incidence of epithelial ingrowth
- Hinge position flexibility
- More control over hinge width and flap diameter
- Less variability in flap thickness
- Overall improved vision outcomes
Wavefront LASIK. Wavefront LASIK has become the gold standard in recent years as it allows for increased personalization and precision and is often referred to as “custom LASIK”. This generation of LASIK can take into account all of the unique characteristics of each patients’ eye before the surgery. With this technology, an excimer laser is programmed with all this unique information to allow for a beneficial reshaping of the eye.
Wavefront is much more specific than even your eyeglasses prescription. When you visit the doctor and they have you choose between “lens 1” and “lens 2” you are still working in 0.25D increments. When Wavefront technology is used, increments are in 0.01 D allowing for a much more specific prescription and treatment guidance.
There are two types of Wavefront options to choose from:
- Wavefront-guided. This uses the wavefront-generated measurement of how light travels through the eyes and falls on the retina to create a treatment that is completely customized for your eye anatomy. This option can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and can reduce irregular aberrations that impact visual clarity.
- Wavefront-optimized. This option uses detailed measurements including the curvature of the front surface of your eye, preserving the natural aspheric shape of your cornea. When you preserve the natural shape, you reduce the risk of spherical aberration, which can be caused by other laser vision procedures.
Topography-guided Lasik. This is often confused for wavefront, but it is not a wavefront procedure. This type of procedure utilizes detailed measurements of the surface of the cornea to correct corneal irregularities including scars and refractive errors. While not a wavefront procedure, this offers more personalization than a conventional LASIK procedure.
Choosing the Right LASIK Procedure
Patients should work with their eye doctor to determine which type of LASIK procedure is best for their specific vision needs. LASIK is not one size fits all, and together with your doctor, you can make an informed decision that will allow you to get the best results. Best Vision Now can help you find an eye doctor who can help you improve your vision through this treatment option.