Better Technology Or Not Really For Bladeless LASIK

Bladelesss Lasik Technology Think that bladeless procedure will benefit you more so than traditional LASIK? Think again. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic compared use of femtosecond lasers (used in bladeless LASIK) with the mechanical microkeratome. The results of the study did not suggest use of the femtosecond necessarily improved patient outcomes. In fact, the results six months post surgery showed that LASIK outcomes were comparable to those of the bladeless procedures.

The study's findings are important, especially considering bladeless proponents have long believed use of the femtosecond provided superior results than the microkeratome, with less risk of side effects.

The study's findings will be presented to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Blade vs. Bladeless Surgery
Traditional LASIK procedures can treat patients with various visual disturbances including nearsightedness, astigmatism and even farsightedness. They work by allowing the surgeon to reshape the corneal surface by cutting a flap in the cornea using a mechanical microkeratome.

Newer procedures, including IntraLase or bladeless LASIK offer surgeons the choice of creating the corneal flap with a new laser called the femtosecond laser. This type of lasik surgery is sometimes also referred to as "all laser" surgery because of this.

The results of this most recent study show that six months following surgery few differences if any are apparent among patients that had surgery using the femtosecond laser or the microkeratome.

That said, there are still many surgeons who prefer to use bladeless surgery because they believe it is much safer. Even if outcomes following surgery may be equal, many surgeons believe using the femtosecond laser during bladeless procedures is safer because it allows more controlled precision. The surgeon using the laser to cut the corneal flap is better able to create a map of the cornea and precisely cut the flap without the risk of over or under correcting.

Of course, it is important to note there are also relatively few risks from surgery using the traditional microkeratome blade. Typically serious risks including vision loss following surgery occur in less than 1 percent of the population undergoing such procedures.

Which Surgery Is Best?
It is important to note this surgery followed patients during their long-term recovery. All findings reported represented results of surgery six months or more following surgery. In the short term, there are a few differences between the two procedures. Bladeless surgery is generally much faster than the traditional LASIK procedure. What is important to note however, as researchers point out, is the long-term effects any surgery will have on a patient.

When it comes to blade vs. bladeless surgery, it appears patients have an equal likelihood for successful surgery six months post operation. Talk with your eye care professional to talk about the pros and cons of each surgery before deciding which surgery may be best for you. Remember there are surgeons who still prefer to use the microkeratome, whereas others still believe the femtosecond laser is a superior tool for creating a precise corneal flap. Make sure you interview at least two doctors before deciding. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

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