LASIK (short for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”) is the most commonly performed refractive eye surgery. Why is it so popular? Mostly because patients experience quick healing with minimal discomfort, and because most patients are seeing well even the very next day. LASIK surgery, by definition, involves the creation of a flap of corneal tissue. This flap is then folded back, an excimer laser is applied to the cornea to reshape it, and then the flap is put back into place where is heals without stitches.
For years, the microkeratome has been the standard in flap creation. We at King LASIK have done thousands of surgeries using a microkeratome, and are very confident in the ability of the microkeratome to produce great flaps with excellent visual results.
Advantages of Intralase
In recent years, a new technology called Intralase has become available, in which a laser is used to create the flap. After years of study and careful consideration, we have decided to incorporate the Intralase into our practice.
The most important advantage of the Intralase is the ability to create very thin flaps, for patients with thin corneas and high prescriptions. In some cases this allows us to perform surgery on patients who previously would have otherwise not been able to do LASIK. The ability to customize the depth of the flap to each specific patient is advantageous.
Also, the most common flap problem with microkeratome-created flaps, a short flap, has been virtually eliminated. A short flap (or incomplete flap) happens most commonly when suction is lost during the flap creation process. This happens in less than 1% of cases. If this happens, surgery must be deferred for three months. This is often disappointing for patients who were excited to have LASIK and now must wait to enjoy their new vision. With the Intralase, instead of having to wait three months to create a new flap, we can create a new flap in a few minutes.
We are comfortable using both the microkeratome and the Intralase to create flaps for LASIK surgery. If we thought the microkeratome wasn’t a good instrument, we would discontinue using it. (We have previously discontinued using excimer lasers that become obsolete.)
But while both methods to create the flap are good, we do feel there is slightly less risk in flap creation using the Intralase. There is an additional fee to use the Intralase. If this cost represents a barrier to undergoing the surgery, the microkeratome is still a great option. But in patients who can afford the extra cost, we feel it is worth it to use the Intralase to create safer flaps.
Learn More about Intralase
We are comfortable using both the microkeratome and the Intralase to create flaps for LASIK surgery. If we thought the microkeratome wasn’t a good instrument, we would discontinue using it. (We have previously discontinued using excimer lasers that become obsolete.) To learn more about laser vision correction options, we encourage you to contact our practice today at 425-525-1000. Dr. Joseph King and his experienced medical staff are happy to answer your questions and help you make the decision that is best for you.