Evolution of LASIK

LASIK has come a long way in a fairly short time. Because of LASIK, millions of people worldwide have 
reduced their dependence on glasses and contacts. 
Clarity offers both bladeless and wavefront-guided LASIK.

The field of laser vision correction—use of a laser to correct refractive or focusing errors of the eye, like nearsightedness—is nearly 3 decades old. Before then, eye surgeons did refractive surgery by making cuts in the cornea (the major focusing element in the eye) with a surgical blade. Results, though, were not always predictable, and that procedure could weaken the structure of the cornea.

 

A major breakthrough

In the 1980s eye surgeons began testing a new laser called the excimer laser to correct nearsightedness. Unlike older lasers, the excimer can make tiny changes in the cornea without harming nearby tissue. This laser can precisely reshape the cornea and actually change the focusing power of the eye.

The first excimer laser vision correction surgery that the FDA approved was PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, in 1995. Sometimes called flapless LASIK, PRK is still a good option to treat low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness and astigmatism if you are not eligible for LASIK.

All laser LASIK

LASIK was approved in 1999 and is now the most common laser refractive surgery performed. At first, LASIK surgeons used an instrument to make a paper-thin flap of the corneal tissue (after numbing the eye) before reshaping the cornea with the excimer laser and returning the protective flap into place. This standard approach to LASIK is still available. But thanks to technological advances, all laser LASIK is safer and more accurate than ever. The IntraLase femtosecond (iFS) laser, lets the surgeon create a precise LASIK flap using the laser’s energy, rather than a blade. Bladeless LASIK has increased the safety and the already high success rate of LASIK in correcting near and farsightedness and astigmatism.

Custom LASIK

LASIK is even more accurate using new computer technology called wavefront technology (or wavefront-guided LASIK). Wavefront technology is the science that measures the way that light passes through the eye. With this technology, computers perform high-tech analysis of the optical characteristics of a person’s eye. This measurement of a person’s optical system allows doctors to precisely calculate laser vision corrections designed to correct focusing problems. We use this information to customize LASIK and other excimer laser treatment to each patient.