Is Traditional or Bladeless LASIK the Right Choice for You?

August 20th, 2018
eye doctor consulting patient

If you’ve decided to get LASIK eye surgery, one more decision stands between you and clearer vision: traditional or bladeless.

It’s commonly believed that people with less-than-perfect vision have three options: contact lenses, glasses, or LASIK eye surgery. However, few people realize that LASIK isn’t actually one option, but two – traditional or bladeless.

When consulting for LASIK surgery, your doctor will walk you through each procedure and choose the technique that will be safest and most effective on your eyes. In the meantime, however, here’s a comparison of the two procedures and their use cases:

LASIK Explained

Before getting into the different types of LASIK, it’s important to understand how the surgery works. LASIK is a corrective procedure that uses lasers to alter the shape of the eye’s cornea, resulting in an improved vision that’s long-lasting, unlike the temporary nature of glasses and contacts. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism all result from the irregularly-shaped corneas, which LASIK seeks to correct.

In order to reshape the eye, a surgeon will create an opening, or “flap,” in the outer surface of the cornea to expose the tissue underneath. The primary difference between the two types of LASIK lies in the alternate methods used to create this flap.

Traditional LASIK

Traditional LASIK surgery uses a small blade to create the flap in the cornea. The “blade” used in traditional LASIK is a small mechanical device known as a microkeratome, which is designed specifically for the act of creating the corneal flap for LASIK surgery. Some doctors will choose traditional LASIK for patients who’ve already had refractive surgery once before.

Bladeless LASIK

As the name implies, bladeless LASIK uses a laser instead of using a microkeratome to create the corneal flap. Also sometimes called as “all-laser LASIK,” the procedure uses a specially-developed femtosecond laser called the IntraLase to cut a flap in the cornea. Getting LASIK using the IntraLase has a higher capacity of customization and typically a quicker healing time.

Studies have shown traditional LASIK can induce greater vision distortions as a result of the flap shape. A bladed flap makes the center thinner, while the femtosecond laser is more accurate thus creating a flap of equal thickness in the center as around the periphery. If your corneas are particularly thin or curved, all-laser LASIK is probably a better choice for you.

Making A Choice

At the end of the day, no one form of LASIK is better or worse than the other. Both have been proven to be very safe, and both bring different benefits to the table. The decision of which LASIK surgery is best for you depends on your eyes, preexisting conditions, and preferences.

The only person truly equipped to help you choose between the two is a trained eye care professional who has assessed your eyes and understands your needs. Luckily, the experts at ICON Eyecare are more than equipped to work with you to make the best decision for your long-term eye health. Schedule your initial consultation with us today, and start your journey to clear vision for good.