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Femtosecond Laser: The Future of LASIK?

June 16, 2016

LASIK is perhaps the most common type of laser eye surgery for correcting vision-related problems. Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have undergone this procedure mainly because of the immediate results of LASIK eye surgery.

Short for Laser in Situ Keratomileusis, LASIK involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea from underneath a corneal flap. A specialized laser called an excimer laser is used to perform LASIK, as it is designed to address refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. It is utilized to improve vision and remove the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

How LASIK Works

The first step that an eye surgeon takes during a LASIK surgery is making a thin and very precise incision on the patient’s corneal flap using a tool called microkeratome. Using an excimer laser, the exposed corneal tissue is then reshaped in prescribed pattern, after which the flap is returned to its natural position onto the cornea.

Types of Lasers

A variety of laser tools are used in performing LASIK. The excimer laser, which is used in LASIK and other types of refractive surgery, works by emitting a beam of UV light to get rid of corneal tissue. Its main ability is ablating certain aspects of the eye that need reshaping, such as flattening the cornea to treat nearsightedness, increasing the steepness of the cornea to correct farsightedness, and evening out an irregularly shaped cornea to correct astigmatism.

Another high-energy laser is the femtosecond laser, which was launched only in 1999. In LASIK eye surgery, femtosecond lasers can be utilized to create the incision in the corneal flap instead of the microkeratome, which has a blade.

“Bladeless” Lasers

While both types of lasers are efficient at creating flaps during a LASIK eye surgery, many surgeons think that “bladeless” lasers produce a cleaner and much more consistent corneal flap. Since this technology is more advanced than microkeratomes, it has a higher potential for improving the way LASIK is done overall.

One of the latest femtosecond lasers to be introduced in the eye care industry is the FS200 by Alcon/WaveLight. Unlike other femtosecond lasers in the market, this tool maintains uniform beam diameter even if the surgeon repositions the device to the center after suction has been placed. Another unique feature of WaveLight’s FS200 is its ability to create inverted side cuts at 70 or 110 degrees, as well as to put the hinge in a place the eye surgeon feels is ideal for the excimer laser treatment.

The FS2000 Joins the OCLI Family

Having WaveLight’s FS200 in an eye care center’s arsenal is a statement that reflects the practice’s commitment to delivering state-of-the-art ophthalmology services. Dr. Cary M. Silverman from OCLI uses this femtosecond laser in performing delicate LASIK eye surgeries on patients. If you want to know more about the procedure and this type of laser, schedule an appointment with any of our specialists today.

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