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LASIK Surgery vs. A Star Wars Light Saber Battle: Similarities and Differences

March 14, 2019

Your eye doctor might have more in common with Luke Skywalker than you think. Sure, he might not wield the power of the Force, but he does wield the power of lasers — the same technology behind the fabled lightsabers of the Jedi Knights.

Could a Jedi Knight perform LASIK surgery with their lightsaber? (LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis and is a life-changing, 10-minute office procedure that permanently corrects your vision and can free you forever from glasses and contact lenses.)

To answer this question, we need to explore the two kinds of lasers with which LASIK surgery is performed. 

Femtosecond lasers:

A femtosecond laser makes LASIK surgery possible without a blade of any kind. Both traditional and bladeless LASIK is performed by cutting an ultra-thin, hinged flap into the cornea, the transparent membrane that covers the eye. The flap is then gently lifted and folded to the side to allow the surgeon direct access to the underlying areas of the cornea. Next, using a laser, the corner is precisely reshaped to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the corrective reshaping is finished, the corneal flap is folded back down to where it naturally reseals itself over the eye. 

Unlike a microkeratome (a surgical instrument used for cutting the corneal flap), femtosecond lasers penetrate the cornea at a computer-controlled depth. While excellent LASIK results can be achieved using either a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser, vision-threatening complications have a much higher percentage of being linked to corneal flaps created by microkeratomes. For this reason, bladeless LASIK surgery, also referred to as “all laser LASIK”, is widely considered the safer alternative.

Excimer lasers:

Excimer lasers are used for the portion of LASIK surgery where the eye area beneath the corneal flap is correctively reshaped.

Excimer lasers precisely remove, or ablate, predetermined microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea with a high degree of accuracy and without generating any heat. This type of laser emits a cool beam of ultraviolet light set to a specific wavelength that reshapes the cornea in order to change the way light rays interact with the retina and thus produce clear vision.

Depending on the type of correction needed, an excimer laser flattens the cornea, steepens the cornea, or smooths irregularities in the corner to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism respectively. 

So, could a Jedi Knight successfully perform LASIK surgery?

While a lightsaber might be able to do the job with its cutting abilities, it lacks the microscopic precision that successful LASIK surgery depends on. But then again, using the Force, who knows what might be possible?

At OCLI, we’re proud to offer our patients the latest and safest advancements in LASIK surgery with the femtosecond laser. While we may not be Jedi’s, we consider ourselves the leading vision health providers in the galaxy for all your eye care needs. From routine vision screenings to dry eye treatment to cataract surgery to permanent vision correction and much more, we do it all with the friendliest service around. Give us a call today for a free LASIK consultation or help with any eye care concern.

May the Force be with you. 

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