IntraLase LASIK Surgery Vs. Traditional Lasik

Intralase vs Traditional Lasik A new technology is now allowing doctors to do something never before possible. Surgeons can now safely create the flap so well known to LASIK surgery without using a blade.

In traditional LASIK surgery, surgeons use a tool called a microkeratome to create a custom hinged flap in the cornea. This flap is gently pulled back so surgeons can access the stroma and remove thin layers of tissue to reshape the patient's cornea.

Now, surgeons can use a special computer guided laser, the IntraLase, instead of the microkeratome to create the thin flap needed to access the cornea. Then, the procedure is much like LASIK, with the excimer laser ablating the cornea and reshaping the surface.

Many refer to IntraLase as the new "bladeless" LASIK because it doesn't involve use of a microkeratome. Still others refer to it as "all-laser" surgery.

Traditional LASIK vs. Bladeless Surgery
Most surgeons recommend LASIK surgery to well qualified patients because there is little risk for complications. However, some complications relate directly to use of the microkeratome to create the flap. Side effects associated with blade use may include:

  • Uneven flap edges.
  • Abnormal corneal surface.
  • Unexpected visual disturbances or defects including irregular astigmatism.
Metal blades can also form an incomplete or incorrect buttonhole flap. This has the potential to induce scars, which later may compromise vision.

Clearly, bladeless LASIK procedures reduce these complications so they are virtually nonexistent.

How IntraLase Works
IntraLase creates a flap much like the microkeratome would using an infrared laser. This energy permeates the surface of the cornea providing a pattern of nearly invisible, overlapping spaces. Located just behind the cornea's surface, these spaces allow the surgeon to create a very uniform, precise flap with little risk of corneal abrasion.

The surrounding tissues are left untouched. Many studies suggest use of the IntraLase is associated with a much-reduced risk of overall problems as well. Many of the complications generally associated with LASIK are reduced thanks to this new technology.

Of course, there are always complications resulting from any surgery. Some eye surgeons for example, note that light sensitivity is a common complication resulting from IntraLase. Fortunately, this problem is usually easily resolved with treatment within a few weeks of surgery.

Costs of IntraLase
Because IntraLase uses a new technology and reduces the risk of complications, it does cost more than traditional LASIK procedures. Typically the cost averages $200-300 for each eye. Patients are often provided the choice between traditional LASIK and the newer IntraLase procedure.

You should always of course, check in with your surgeon, as he or she may prefer using one or the other. Some in fact, now only use IntraLase, so you may have to shop around to find a traditional LASIK provider if you would prefer saving the money.

One way to take advantage of IntraLase without regard to cost is by finding a surgeon offering financing options or bundled packaging. Many surgeons provide partial or full financing for patients interested in LASIK surgery. Just be sure regardless of the procedure you select, the price quoted and financed includes comprehensive care. This means care occurring before, during and in the months following surgery. Doing so will save you a lot of grief and surprise at unexpected fees following surgery.

Who Is A Good Candidate?
IntraLase offers some people an opportunity to take advantage of LASIK surgery when they may not otherwise be good candidates. For example, patients with thin corneas typically are considered higher risk for complications with traditional LASIK. This risk however, is reduced significantly when surgeons use the IntraLase. This is in part due to the precision IntraLase offers.

IntraLase may also reduce the risk of complications in patients that may have flatter corneas, making this a better choice for many. Be sure to talk with your doctor about complications and your suitability for surgery. Together you can make an informed decision about the type of laser procedure best suited to your individual needs.

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