Visumax SMILE Technology

The Zeiss VisuMax Laser

Zeiss VisuMax laser – front view

The Zeiss VisuMax laser is a spectacular advance in vision-correcting laser technology. LA Sight is pleased to be the first laser center in the world to marry the VisuMax (for flap creation) and Wavelight (for optical sculpting) without patients having to move from one treatment bed to another. The combination of laser flap creation (with VisuMax) and laser sculpting for vision correction (with the Wavelight laser) is referred to as All-Laser LASIK.

The VisuMax can be used to create the delicate flap in the first step of LASIK. For this application, it is gentler, more delicate, and more accurate than any other laser used for this purpose. From an engineering standpoint, its design is far more sophisticated (see below). All lasers that create LASIK flaps are in a class called femtosecond lasers.

At LA Sight, we currently use the VisuMax laser to create the delicate LASIK flap. This process is more gentle, more delicate, and causes less pressure sensation than with any other method of flap-creation we have ever used. The overall patient experience is better, and many people remark, “I hardly felt anything!” when they sit up after treatment.

VisuMax Laser – side view

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The VisuMax laser is the first and only vision-correcting laser in the world to perform ReLeX SMILE surgery. ReLeX is a contraction of the phrase Refractive Lenticule Extraction and SMILE is an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. The laser is able to sculpt front and rear surfaces of a tiny lens-shaped section of tissue, then create a tiny keyhole incision for the surgeon to remove this lenticule from within the cornea — all without creating a LASIK flap! As of September 13, 2016, the US FDA granted approval for the VisuMax laser to perform SMILE for nearsightedness. SMILE is available and has become increasingly popular in Europe, Asia, Russia and South America.

LA Sight will be one of the first centers in the US to offer this care to patients.

Why is VisuMax the best laser in its class?

  • More precise than any other femto laser. Positional accuracy is ~3 microns rather than >6 with other, older femto systems.
  • Delivers better results at lower total energy output. The laser energy (technical term: fluence) is lower and more focused with VisuMax
  • Smart Bed. The treatment bed of the VisuMax is extremely sophisticated, helping maintain the perfect, gentle contact pressure optimal for flap creation.
  • Curved contact surface. The VisuMax is the only femto laser to employ a curved contact surface when rendering treatment. This curved surface closely matches the curve of the natural cornea. All other femto lasers (and in fact all mechanical microkeratomes) must flatten the cornea before flap creation. The curved surface treatment is more natural and gentler.
  • Much lower pressure. With all other femto systems, and microkeratomes, eye pressure is raised quite high during treatment. This usually is accompanied by temporary loss of vision (a few seconds). With VisuMax, flap creation is possible at much lower pressure, so vision is maintained during this process. This translates to a better, more comfortable patient experience. It is not uncommon for patients to remark, “Wow, I hardly felt anything during treatment!” which is a comment never heard when using other systems for flap creation.
  • For the engineers reading this description, the VisuMax delivery system is opto-electronic; all other femto systems use opto-mechanical design. This significant design difference allows greater positional accuracy and puts VisuMax in a class by itself. No other femto laser is capable of the spatial accuracy necessary for ReLeX SMILE.