"Better Technology or Not Really?"

Laser Vision Specialists serving Toms River, Brick, Barnegat & Manalapan Township, New Jersey

Think that bladeless procedure will benefit you more so than traditional LASIK? Think again. A recent study compared the 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 surgery runs the risk of side effects, such as transient light sensitivity (TLS), a condition commonly associated with the use of the Intralase femtosecond laser, which can linger for a year after the surgery.
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 farsightedness. They work by allowing the surgeon to reshape the corneal surface by creating 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 some surgeons who prefer to use bladeless surgery because they believe it is safer. Even if outcomes following surgery may be equal, some surgeons believe using the femtosecond laser during bladeless procedures is safer because it allows more controlled precision. On the other hand, there is the issue of transient light sensitivity (TLS) to contend with along with post surgical swelling, which can delay visual clarity.
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 study followed patients during their long-term recovery. All findings reported represent results of this study six months or more following surgery. In the short term, there are a few differences between the two procedures. 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 about the pros and cons of each surgery before deciding which may be best for you. Remember there are surgeons who still prefer to use the femtosecond, whereas others still believe the microkeratome is a superior tool for creating a precise corneal flap. Ultimately, the decision is yours.