The popularity of LASIK laser eye surgery has made it possible for almost everyone to be familiar with the procedure: a small flap will be created on one’s eye so that a laser can get in and alter the shape of the cornea. Traditional LASIK eye surgery techniques use a small blade called a microkeratome blade to create the flap. More modern techniques, however, have made use of lasers instead. This is called Intralasik, or Intralase LASIK.
LASIK using microkeratome blades already have various documented complications and risks because it is the technique that has been in use the longest. In addition, the prospect of having a blade so near to sensitive parts of the eyes, can induce anxiety in almost anyone. While it is true that merely 10% of LASIK patients suffer any major or minor LASIK side effects, some experts surmise that the complications arose from creating the flap through a microkeratome blade. Thus, researchers looked for ways to discard the use of the blade.
Using lasers for the first phase of the LASIK procedure is a very modern innovation. The laser is controlled by pre-programmed software so that the laser can cut in the correct depth, size, and position. A suction ring holds the eye in place while the laser creates the flap. Many patients report that they did not feel any discomfort while the ring is in place. In fact, the only sensation they felt was a small pressure on the eye being operated on, and temporary dimming of vision during the procedure.
Intralase technology makes use of carbon dioxide bubbles to act as a buffer so that the other parts of the eye won’t be disturbed. The cornea and the flap reap the benefits of these bubbles, and it allows easy cutting for the laser. A flap can be created by the laser in about one minute.
Laser usage is said to be more reliable than microkeratome blades because it relies less on human error. The software has been tested and re-tested to ensure precision and continuity. Vertical lines are cut cleanly, thus speeding up the process of healing of the eyes. The clean cuts will also prevent the likelihood of slipping or wrinkling of the flap in case the eye was rubbed, bumped, or touched in any way during the healing process.
There are some disadvantages to using Intralase, however. A patient must stay in surgery longer if the doctor is using this technique as compared to the traditional technique. The microkeratome blade allows the surgery for one eye to be completed in approximately 30 seconds, while Intralase will take about a minute for each eye. Some LASIK patients also report noticing redness in their eyes, but this is very rare. In fact, this happens in only 5% of Intralase patients. Additionally, the price of LASIK Intralase is significantly higher than microkeratome LASIK, but experts are hopeful that as the technique grows more popular, the costs will decrease.
Popularity: 22% [?]