All Laser LASIK
Intra-Lase Femtosecond Laser
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All-Laser LASIK intends to specify LASIK treatment wherein the first step of the process, the creation of the delicate flap, is performed by a special-purpose laser. The flap-making laser is called a femtosecond laser. The second step of LASIK, the optical sculpting of the corneal collagen, is done by a different laser called an excimer laser. Femtosecond technology intends to replace mechanical (blade-based) flap-creation instruments. The manufacturers of these systems (IntraLase and Ziemer) claim that this technology affords somewhat greater precision in control of flap depth compared to that attainable with mechanical flap-making systems. While this is a very exciting technology, and the 'bladeless' marketing campaign has been very effective, the equipment is quite costly; so a significant added fee is passed along to the consumer.
The real benefits may be small or negligible compared to latest-technology mechanical microkeratomes. Reasonable professionals including very experienced LASIK surgeons will differ in their opinions about the merits of All-Laser LASIK compared to other options.
At LA Sight we offer "All-Laser LASIK" as an option to our patients, but we do not recommend this care for the overwhelmning majority of those we treat. We did have an IntraLase laser in our center from about April '08 through December '09, and found the technology to be very good, but not better than, mechanical keratome systems that we also use. Frankly it comes down to a matter of cost, and we could not justify adding about $350 - $375 per eye in "up-charge" for all-laser care when the results were absolutely as good using conventional microkeratomes.
We will carefully explain the potential merits of this technology to you at the time of your consultation.