If you’ve been researching your LASIK eye surgery options, you’ve probably seen lots of terms swirling around, like “100% blade-free,” “bladeless,” and “all-laser.” But what do these terms really mean? And are they worth the hype (and extra money)? Here we’ll answer these questions and explain what gives these LASIK procedures the edge over conventional LASIK procedures that use a blade.
Loden Vision Centers™ offers a 100% blade-free LASIK™ procedure to all LASIK patients. To learn more about an LASIK procedure at Loden Vision Centers and to find out if you are a candidate, schedule your appointment today using our online scheduler or call (615) 559-4242.
First, to understand the blade versus blade-free debate, you need a basic understanding of what happens during the LASIK procedure. During LASIK, the cornea (the outermost layer of the eye) is reshaped to correct vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. In order to get to the corneal tissue that needs to be reshaped, the LASIK surgeon must create a flap in the cornea. Think of it as a door into the cornea (but a very small, paper-thin door). The flap remains on a hinge so it stays connected to the eye. When the LASIK procedure is complete and the cornea has been reshaped, the surgeon “closes” the hinged flap.
What Is “Conventional” LASIK?
In a conventional LASIK procedure, the surgeon will use a blade and a holding device called a microkeratome to create the flap. The blade comes in direct contact with the cornea in this type of procedure. Additionally, a flap created by a microkeratome may be thinner toward the middle of the flap because of how the blade works. This has the potential to cause certain types of flap defects including buttonholes (where the flap is shaped like a button) and flaps that become detached from the eye.
Figure 1. Corneal flap creation using a microkeratome.
Corneal flap creation using a microkeratome.
What Is “100% Blade-Free” LASIK?
In a 100% blade-free LASIK procedure (or bladeless or all-laser LASIK procedure), the surgeon will use the advanced technology of a femtosecond laser to create the flap. At Loden Vision Centers, the LASIK procedure exclusively uses the advanced IntraLase iFS™ femtosecond laser. This femtosecond laser uses high-energy laser pulses to perforate or cut the corneal tissue without any instrumentation actually having to make direct contact with the cornea. Using a femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap can lead to a more consistent thickness throughout the flap and may reduce the number of flap complications that can result from using a microkeratome.
Figure 2. Blade-free corneal flap creation using a femtosecond laser.
Blade-free corneal flap creation using a femtosecond laser.
The Benefits of Going Blade-Free
As previously mentioned, using a laser to create the corneal flap during LASIK may lead to fewer flap complications. This can translate to additional benefits in terms of long-term quality of vision following a LASIK procedure. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of using a laser to create the corneal flap in a LASIK procedure. Some of the advantages compared with conventional LASIK include:
•Fewer complications as seen with the earlier mechanical devices
•Increased accuracy when creating the corneal flap
•Unprecedented control and precision during the procedure
•Less patient anxiety
•Reduced occurrence of side effects such as halos and glare
•Better long-term vision quality
Is Blade-Free Worth It?
Because of the advantages of blade-free LASIK, it should not be surprising that there is a cost associated with this type of upgrade. However, now that you understand the advantages compared with conventional LASIK, it’s up to you to determine if the benefits are worth the associated costs. When it comes to your vision, you may decide that you want—and deserve—only the very best.
The Importance of Surgeon Experience
Keep in mind that while blade-free LASIK offers a variety of benefits compared with conventional LASIK, femtosecond laser technology is only as good as the surgeon using it. For example, a novice surgeon does not have the experience and skill as a seasoned surgeon who has been performing LASIK for many years. While both of these surgeons may use the same femtosecond laser, the seasoned surgeon would be more skilled at using the femtosecond laser to provide his or her patients with optimal visual outcomes. So don’t let the appeal of blade-free LASIK technology blind you to other important LASIK considerations, such as surgeon experience.
Experience Blade-Free LASIK From the Best in Nashville!
When you choose Loden Vision Centers for your LASIK needs, you can be confident you are getting care from the best in town (voted Nashville’s “Best LASIK Doctor” for 6 years running!). You’ll get the combination of 100% blade-free LASIK technology in the hands of experienced and skilled LASIK surgeons. Because we remain committed to always using the most cutting-edge technology and being Nashville’s most experienced and qualified LASIK surgeons, we have been able to help 99% of our LASIK patients see 20/20 or better following their procedure.1
Schedule an appointment today with the skilled and experienced surgeons at Loden Vision Centers to learn more about the LASIK procedure. Loden Vision Centers uses the most advanced LASIK technology in order to provide the best to their patients—including 100% blade-free LASIK.
1 Data on file. Loden Vision Centers.