i-LASIK Using the IntraLase Femtosecond Laser
Deciding to have LASIK eye surgery is a major decision in a person's life. IntraLase is a blade-free method used by ophthalmologists to perform LASIK. The IntraLase method uses pulses of laser light create a corneal flap, which is then lifted so the reshaping of your cornea can be performed. At the end of your LASIK procedure, the flap is securely repositioned back into place. This blade-free, computer-guided technology is typically more accurate than most of the mechanical microkeratomes (hand-held devices with a thin metal blade) that LASIK surgeons may also use to create a corneal flap.
The creation of the corneal flap is a key step in a LASIK eye surgery procedure. Treatment to correct your vision is actually done on the corneal tissue that’s beneath the surface, and access is granted by making a corneal flap on the surface and folding it back. The flap must be of exactly the right thickness and in exactly the right place which can be properly determined by your eye doctor and achieved through IntraLase. When the surgery is finished, it’s folded back into position and acts as a delicate bandage over the treated area. It heals by itself in the following days after surgery. Traditionally, a microkeratome is used to create the corneal flap but with advancements in technology LASIK can be performed with all lasers. Our St. Louis ophthalmologists have found that when complications arise from LASIK they are typically from a poorly created corneal flap.
Unlike mechanical instruments, IntraLase technology is uniquely able to program the dimensions of your flap based on what's best for your eye(s). The IntraLase laser then creates your flap from below the surface of the cornea-without ever cutting it. This process is done in a series of steps:
- Ultra-fast pulses of laser light position microscopic bubbles at a precise depth predetermined by your LASIK eye doctor.
- 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.
- Next, the IntraLase laser stacks bubbles around your corneal diameter to create the edges of your flap. These bubbles are stacked at an angle that is determined by your doctor and is individualized to the way your eye is shaped.
- The process takes only about 30 seconds from start to finish- it's quiet and it's comfortable.
- Your eye 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.
When making your decision about LASIK eye surgery there are numerous advantages of IntraLase that you should take into consideration. IntraLase creates a very smooth surface whereas using a microkeratome, used in traditional LASIK, could create a slightly rough surface if precision isn't used. If you were previously denied the opportunity for LASIK eye surgery because of the thinness of your cornea, you may be a candidate for IntraLase because of the accuracy generated by the computer-based laser. Corneal flaps that have been created by IntraLase tend to set back into place more smoothly after the procedure. Less enhancement are needed after and IntraLase procedure. Studies have shown that more people achieve 20/20 vision and experience less trouble seeing in dim lighting conditions after their LASIK eye surgery when the IntraLase method is used.
The IntraLase method has been successfully performed on hundreds of thousands of eyes since its introduction. The goal of LASIK with Intralase is to provide you with the ultimate in comfort, safety, and outstanding vision. LASIK with IntraLase delivers the added assurance of knowing you're being treated with some of the most advanced technology there is in ophthalmology. In a survey of clinical practices, the vision in the IntraLase-treated eye was preferred up to 3 to 1 by patients over the vision in the mechanical blade-treated eye (among those who stated a preference). Our LASIK eye surgery performed with IntraLase delivers a superior visual result. In a clinical study comparing the IntraLase laser to the leading microkeratome, more patients achieved 20/20 vision or better in standard and custom LASIK surgery when the IntraLase method was used to create the corneal flap. Because of the superior accuracy of the IntraLase method, certain patients who were once ineligible for LASIK eye surgery may now be able to have treatment.