Lasik surgery has been available for approximately 25 years. During that period of time many things have changed for the better. Technology has injected unprecedented advances in our ability to measure vision function and treat complex optical aberrations so as to provide levels of visual acuity not possible with the best glasses or contact lenses. To help break down those changes we have assembled the various clinical options available today in a series of web pages that attempt to describe the various options available to you today.
Wavefront CustomVue Bladeless Lasik
Over the years various manufacturers have attempted to brand new terms for Lasik that captured the essence of those new advances. Examples have ranged from ‘iLasik’, ‘zLasik’ and ‘Custom Cornea’ to ‘IntraLasik’. These attempts seemed like a good idea at the time and were designed to help differentiate new technologies from their less advanced predecessors. Unfortunately none have created much traction with the public leaving surgeons with few options besides using complex “word salads” when we attempt to describe what “Lasik” actually means today.
Of the various expressions used in these “word salads” the most important revolve around terms like “wavefront” and “bladeless”. Despite the value of these important ‘guidepost’ words, the way manufacturers have used them can remain confusing even for LASIK surgeons.
On the various pages of our website we will break down precisely what we mean by “wavefront” and how that technology can be used to actually guide the Lasik process in order to provide the best possible vision. We will also explain the fundamental differences between a “wavefront guided” and a “wavefront optimized” procedure. In addition, we will unpack the “bladeless” terminology so that you can understand the value proposition that billions of dollars in scientific research bring to the field of Lasik today.
Life Style Lasik
One of the biggest challenges facing laser vision correction and vision correction technologies in general has been the problem with the near universal need for reading glasses. Ben Franklin is attributed with the phrase that states – “There are two certainties in life – death and taxes”. As ophthalmologists we have added a third – “death, taxes and presbyopia”. Every person on the planet will become presbyopic and need reading glasses for near vision tasks and this event seems to occur at about 45 years of age for most people.
Lifestyle LASIK is a method of performing Lasik that has been developed and perfected by Dr. Will and Will Vision and Laser Centers. With Lifestyle Lasik it is possible to have great distance vision and not need reading glasses at virtually any age. It is a truly revolutionary technique that resets all of the rules that we have thought about aging and the eye. If you have been told that you will need reading glasses after Lasik then you need to read more about how Lifestyle Lasik has changed that mantra.
There are a lot of good traditions around such as Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas caroling and wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. However, when it comes to medical procedures the surgery used on our parents just might have been improved upon a bit.
Most often the term “traditional” or “conventional” Lasik refers to the type of Lasik that was popular over a decade ago. Basically this means using a metal-bladed microkeratome to create the Lasik flap and a symmetrical corneal reshaping process that is based entirely on a glasses prescription. In its time, this method of performing Lasik was heralded as the best-of-the-best. However, just as jets have replaced biplanes, computers have supplanted typewriters and smart phones have reconfigured our entire lives – with time, technologies frequently change for the better. The same is true for traditional Lasik which can best be described today as a legacy technology. Although not entire gone, it is definitely in the rear-view mirror.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
In the early 1990s the original manner that excimer lasers were used to correct human vision was with the use of the Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK procedure. After all these years and, in spite of all the amazing advances in Lasik technology, PRK is still a highly viable procedure today. In fact, PRK can be the procedure of choice for patients with thinner corneas or patients that are at risk of eye injury such as a boxer or martial arts professional.
Laser Assisted Epithelial Keratectomy (LASEK)
We are mentioning LASEK more to ensure that we have provided you with a complete disclosure of surgical alternatives than to suggest that it is a viable alternative today. Very few, if any, surgeons today promote or perform LASEK. However, if you want to know everything there is to know about laser vision correction options we have included a discussion of the LASEK method and its strengths and weaknesses as a method for improving vision.