One of the big selling points of laser eye surgery is the fact that it’s ‘bladeless’. So, instead of using a knife, the surgeon carries out a vision correction procedure with an ultra-precise laser beam. But did you know that there is more than one type of laser eye surgery available to patients – and that some are more ‘bladeless’ than others? Here, we’ll take a look at both blade and bladeless laser eye surgery and explore the pros and cons of each technique.
How does it work?
Laser eye surgery involves using a laser to adjust the patient’s vision by reshaping the cornea. There are several different procedures – and while all of these employ a laser, they do so in different ways. These include LASIK, LASEK and PRK as well as advanced surface ablation and ReLEx® SMILE laser correction.
The most popular form of eye surgery today is LASIK, which involves creating a flap in the cornea, before using what’s known as an excimer laser to make the required corrections.
Creating a corneal flap: blades and lasers
When it originally appeared as a treatment option, LASIK wasn’t completely bladeless. Traditional, or ‘blade’ LASIK does make use of a laser to reshape the cornea – but the initial step of creating a corneal flap is done manually, with a small, microkeratome blade.
Today, bladeless LASIK involves using one laser (known as a femtosecond laser) to create the flap, before carrying out the main part of the surgery with the excimer laser.
Which is better?
Bladeless laser eye surgery has advantages over the old method:
- Although the risk of infection is always very small in laser eye surgery, eliminating the use of all blades reduces it further.
- Using a femtosecond laser to create a flap allows for ultra-precise and accurate work, because the surgeon can plot and plan the exact positioning of the laser.
- Corneal flaps created using bladeless laser technology are more robust and are less likely to lead to flap complications. That makes bladeless LASIK a better option for patients with thin corneas.
However, when considering blade or bladeless laser eye surgery, you might also want to consider the following:
- Bladeless LASIK is more expensive than the traditional procedure, due to the cost of the technology involved.
- Bladeless LASIK may take slightly longer than its blade equivalent – although either way, the procedure only takes around 10-15 minutes per eye.
- For around 1% of patients, a complication called ‘transient light sensitivity’ can occur in bladeless LASIK, involving temporary sensitivity to light.
Bladeless LASIK with Allon Barsam
Allon Barsam offers bladeless laser eye surgery procedures at his London and Hertfordshire based clinics, using the very latest in laser technology. The laser currently used for flap creation is the state-of-the-art Zeimer LDV Crystalline Femtosecond Laser, while the Wavelight Allegretto Excimer Laser is skilfully employed to reshape the cornea.
If you would like to discuss your suitability for bladeless LASIK, or if you have any questions about the procedure, contact us to book a consultation.