The Advantages of Using a Femtosecond Laser with Wavefront-Guided LASIK

The Femtosecond laser can improve wavefront-guided LASIK surgery

Laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) can be defined as the permanent correction of refractive error by the programmed ablation of corneal tissue using an excimer laser. Since LASIK was introduced a decade ago, the forefront of laser vision technology has seen many technological advancements and developments. One of such most recent advancements is the use of wavefront guided (WFG) which certainly offers patients a new sense of assurance and peace of mind through added safety and increased precision in a less invasive manner. Today, a procedure combining flap creation using a new femtosecond laser with wavefront-guided LASIK including iris registration represents the state of the art in laser vision correction surgery. This new fifth-generation, 150 kHz IntraLase femtosecond laser (iFS, Advanced Medical Optics) has brought surgeons closer into the realm of achieving the perfect LASIK procedure. The ultimate goal of this procedure is to reduce the amount of postoperative complications in order to improve visual quality and subjective results following surgery. It can be said that these most modern innovations for LASIK surgery, as a way for correcting eye defects, are good for the person as well as the surgeon. In fact, the use of such technological advancement makes available to doctors a technique wherein they could have an opportunity to do a personalized and precise procedure, while the patient on the other hand will enjoy all the benefits of a successful surgery.

What is a wavefront technology?
Wavefront technology is frequently used in astronomy to improve the image quality of telescopes and to correct aberrations in reflecting mirrors as well as aberrations induced by the atmosphere, resulting in a significant improvement in image quality. This technology applied to the eye is a new and powerful tool for refractive surgery such as LASIK.

Definition: Wavefront-guided (WFG) LASIK, also called custom LASIK, is a variation of the surgery which has been designed to reduce or eliminate the induced spherical aberration of conventional LASIK.

A Wavefront-Guided (WFG) refractive surgery procedure enables the surgeon to measure all of the eye's aberrations - both lower- and higher order aberrations - and then designs a customized treatment profile based on those aberrations.

What is the femtosecond laser?
A femtosecond laser acts much like the microkeratome (the traditional blade used in the conventional LASIK) in that it cuts a corneal flap so the surgeon can reshape the cornea. However, as it is a laser, it is faster (operates at less than one billionth of a second). It is also much more precise, which decreases the risk of uneven cuts or tissue damage. This in turn reduces the odds for a poor outcome and even for infection or healing problems after LASIK.

Advantages of using this new femtosecond laser with wavefront-guided LASIK

High repetition rate (speed): A higher repetition rate is, perhaps, the most important benefit of the fifth-generation iFS as it reduces procedural time, including suction time, and allows surgeons to use less energy per spot as well as a tighter spot separation.

Improved vision quality: After the use of femtosecond laser with wavefront-guided LASIK, users see less induction of higher-order aberrations, resulting in better night vision and better contrast acuity compared with conventional surgery.

More versatile: The fifth-generation iFS femtosecond laser offers expanded options for flap customization.

Faster: It also makes flap creation faster and better than before. Flaps can now be created in less than 10 seconds, depending on spot/line separation.

Safer: Flap creation with a femtosecond laser also has safety advantages i.e. is more safe than before.

More effective and accurate: It provides more effective and predictable flap outcomes compared with mechanical microkeratomes. Hence, there is the potential for better visual outcomes with less induction of dry eye. In simple words, wavefront-guided LASIK allows surgeons to more accurately predict the postoperative refraction to give more patients postoperative uncorrected acuity.

More comfortable and patient-friendly: There is less chance for suction break to occur and also better patient comfort, and with reduced energy delivery, inflammatory tissue reaction may be minimized

Enhanced surgical outcomes and proficiency: Because of these advantages, surgeons are better equipped to accomplish all of their goals for LASIK surgery. For example, the biggest advantage is the ability to place the spots closer together because that translates into a smoother bed and easier lifts.

Based on these advantages and salient features, it can be confidently concluded that wavefront-guided procedures using a femtosecond laser lead to more predictable results and better visual quality than conventional procedures. Therefore, such wavefront-guided procedures should lead to fewer retreatments and more satisfied patients and better patient outcomes after LASIK.

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