Lasik Q & A

IntraLase "Bladeless" LASIK Uses a Second Laser Not a Blade

In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved the IntraLase Bladeless LASIK technique to correct eye vision. In 2001 the IntraLASIK procedure was introduced onto the U.S. market, and to date over 1 million successful IntraLase procedures have been performed. The main benefit towards the IntraLASIK procedure over other LASIK and PRK procedures is that IntraLASIK uses a laser to create a flap in the cornea instead of a blade. The entire surgery is conducted with the use of lasers; no blades are used at all.

During the IntraLASIK procedure, a laser using rapid pulses of laser light are used to create a flap in the upper surfaces of the cornea. The laser light creates tiny microscopic bubbles in the cornea layer; the location of these bubbles is not the same for everyone, and the area in which the laser creates the bubbles is determined by an ophthalmologist before the surgery begins. After the layer of bubbles has been created, the surgeon is able to gently fold back the layer of tissue resting on top of the bubbles. After the layer is folded back, an excimer laser is used to shape the cornea in order to correct vision; the excimer laser is used as well in LASIK, LASEK, and PRK surgeries.

The use of a laser instead of a blade to remove the upper corneal layer has a number of benefits to the patient. A cut on the cornea using a blade can sometimes lead to scarring, postoperative vision quality problems, longer healing time, increased postoperative pain, and lower quality of overall postoperative vision. The IntraLASIK procedure helps to avoid surgical complications that occur when a blade is used during an eye corrective procedure. Independent studies have shown that patients who undergo IntraLASIK procedures, as opposed to LASIK procedures, reported a better overall quality of vision.

The IntraLASIK procedure allows doctors to independently tailor the dimensions of the corneal flap for improved results. Some patients who have been rejected as LASIK surgical candidates due to thin corneas may qualify for IntraLASIK instead. IntraLASIK patients report a reduced incidence of postoperative pain and haze, and a quicker recovery of vision.

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