Bladeless LASIK: Femtosecond Laser Eases LASIK Fears
In bladeless LASIK — also called blade-free LASIK, all-laser LASIK, or femto LASIK — your LASIK surgeon uses two types of lasers for the vision correction procedure.
First, an ultra-fast femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap in the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye. Then, an excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue to correct your vision. The flap is then returned to its original position.
The femtosecond laser eliminates the need for a bladed surgical tool (called a microkeratome) to create the corneal flap. No surgical blade of any kind is needed in all-laser LASIK.
Generally, anyone who qualifies for LASIK surgery is a good candidate for bladeless LASIK. Also, some studies have suggested that all-laser LASIK may decrease the risk of certain LASIK complications associated with the use of a microkeratome.
Types Of Bladeless, Femtosecond Laser LASIK
Brand names like IntraLase LASIK and IntraLASIK were soon being used to differentiate bladeless LASIK from conventional LASIK that required a bladed microkeratome to create the corneal flap.
In 2007, Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) acquired IntraLase and began marketing the femtosecond laser flap technology alongside its excimer laser platform for wavefront-guided custom LASIK (CustomVue). AMO has since integrated its latest femtosecond laser and customized laser treatment into a new LASIK platform called iLASIK, which currently is the leading brand of bladeless LASIK in the United States.
Other femtosecond laser platforms that are FDA approved for blade-free LASIK procedures performed in the U.S. include:
- Femto LDV (Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems)
- Technolas (Technolas Perfect Vision GmbH)
- Victus (Technolas Perfect Vision GmbH and Bausch + Lomb)
- VisuMax (Carl Zeiss Meditec AG)
Each of these systems has its own features and benefits, and all systems produce comparable outcomes.
Advantages Of Femtosecond Laser LASIK
In addition to putting patients at greater ease (knowing that no blade will be used on their eye) advantages of bladeless, femtosecond laser LASIK include:
- More predictable corneal flap thickness
- Decreased risk of corneal abrasions during surgery
- Decreased risk of induced astigmatism after LASIK
Also, in some cases, a femtosecond laser may make it possible to create a thinner corneal flap, which could enable the surgeon to safely correct higher amounts of nearsightedness.
The femtosecond laser also gives the LASIK surgeon more options in flap size, shape, and orientation, for a more customized LASIK procedure for each patient's needs.
Finally, a femtosecond laser can create a corneal flap that has edges that enable the flap to fit more securely in place after the LASIK procedure, potentially reducing healing time and decreasing the risk of dislocation of the flap after surgery.