Wavelight Technology

The Wavelight Allegretto laser. Better Outcomes (Higher % 20/20), Better Night Vision, Greater Accuracy

The Wavelight Laser

The Wavelight family of lasers are the most modern, newest-design lasers for vision correction. These are excimer lasers, which perform optical sculpting by precisely evaporating tiny fragments of tissue from the collagen layer of the cornea (called sphero-cylindrical shape subtraction). Wavelight lasers perform wavefront-optimized treatment by design, rather than as an add-on in other systems. Wavelight is a German company that combines the best of brilliant German engineering and advanced optical design making vision-correcting lasers with unparalleled precision, stability and accuracy. In 2007 Wavelight was acquired by Alcon, a US company and leader in ophthalmic surgery products. In 2012, Alcon was itself acquired by Novartis, a giant pharmaceutical conglomerate.

Wavefront technology is impressive, but wavefront terminology used in the marketing of vision-correcting laser care is extremely confusing. There are two types of wavefront treatment offered by modern lasers:

  • Wavefront-Optimized treatment as rendered all Wavelight lasers. This means that the treatment designed to match the curve radius of each person’s individual cornea. By contrast, most other lasers render treatment using spot patterns that are not curve-corrected, resulting in less accuracy and precision.
  • Wavefront-Guided treatment uses information from a special instrument called an aberrometer or wavefront sensor to guide laser sculpting. The suggestion is that wavefront-guided treatment should be able to correct certain very subtle optical imperfections as well as optical imperfection caused by nearsightedness, and astigmatism. However, commercially available wavefront sensors, used in combination with excimer lasers for vision correction, are not actually able to eliminate higher-order aberrations of the human visual system.

Wavefront-optimized treatment with a Wavelight laser (our standard treatment) has been shown to be at least as good as custom treatment on other laser platforms such as the Visx laser. We have the ability to perform wavefront-guided treatment with our laser as well, but this is only done in a small percentage of cases.

The Allegretto is the fastest and most precise laser system for vision correction available in the U.S. The laser employs what is called “PerfectPulse Technology” to safely and accurately control every single laser pulse from start to finish.

The Wavelight laser was designed much more recently than other laser systems including the Visx and Technolas lasers. Imperfections and design deficiencies in other systems were avoided, and advanced optical treatment methods were incorporated from the outset, rather than as afterthoughts, patches, upgrades or post-fixes. The Wavelight family of lasers represent a new generation of refractive technology referred to as High Performance Vision Correction, allowing patients to achieve exceptional visual results under all lighting situations, day and night.

This portion of our site is devoted to explaining why we feel this laser has certain advantages and benefits over other technology. Some of the discussions on the following pages may resonate more with people who have engineering, mathematics, science, optics or IT systems interests. It is not our intent to present information in a ‘geeky’ or overly technical manner, but to share some of the technical innovations of this laser system in language that the lay person can appreciate. If you’re reading this, there is little doubt that you are considering laser treatment for either yourself or someone close to you; our goal is to provide you with the best information possible.

Some of the features that help differentiate and distinguish the Allegretto laser from the competition include:

  • Exceptionally stable laser engine, affording very stable performance over typical laser treatment time intervals;
  • Extremely precise calibration;
  • It’s the only laser system to address the cosine correction offset problem
  • It’s the only laser to take into account the starting curvature radius of the cornea being treated, with the intent to preserve the naturally aspheric (“prolate”) corneal shape after treatment;
  • Clinical data presented to FDA showed that in a large group of patients,quality of night vision after treatment was better than night vision quality before treatment, with best glasses or contact lenses.