Femtosecond Laser Technology

This technology has been represented by many different brands, however, the most popular one is called (IntraLase).

LASIK surgery has been performed for about three decades on a large scale basis around the world. Many people have benefited from improved eyesight after having this ambulatory eye surgery.

The performance of this procedure may vary depending on practitioner skills, technology availability and the kind of treatment, however, the surgery itself is governed by the same principals, which consist on; create a flap, reshape the cornea to correct patient’s refractive errors and reposition the flap back on its original position to start the healing process.

There is a misconception from patient’s perspective between how PRK and LASIK procedures are performed, so before we move forward with this information, I will like to explain the differences, with a simple example:
LASIK procedure means; let’s create a flap while we are performing the surgery so we can lift it and then reshape the cornea with an Excimer Laser. While in the other hand, PRK procedure means; let’s not create a flap but let’s remove the epithelium instead to reshape the cornea with an Excimer Laser. Whatever the case, outcomes may vary markedly based on technology and not based on medical criteria, which is (not less important).

Femtosecond technology was integrated into the industry for one reason: to improve doctor’s performance, simplify surgical experiences and improve patient’s outcome and experience.

Today, even though we still facing some ongoing debate in the ophthalmology field of whether or not this technology is better than its original concept called (microkeratome), there are many LASIK practitioners who preferred a microkeratome over Femtosecond Laser, Why? Let’s see some fundamentals:

Femtosecond Laser v/s Microkeratome

Apparently, it is all about “friction”. Femtosecond technology study, tell us that if the eye is exposed to less friction, the healing process might be faster and less “painful” or I should say less uncomfortable.

Now, how Laser Femtosecond technology work in LASIK surgery, is literally very simple to explain: This technology instead of cutting corneal tissue with a blade, send sensitive and uniformed laser pulses to create micro bubbles under a particular corneal tissue layer, this way, the practitioner reduce the implementation of sharp medical instruments while he/she is performing the procedure.

Overall According to patient’s perspective

Healing Trends
Pressure Level
Discomfort Level
Risk Level
Femtosend Laser Technology
Fast = Better
Low = Better
Low = Better
Microkeratome Technology

Bottom line

The technology is well know by many consumers as Intralase, which it is a Brand, however, it is important to mention that this technology was intended to create a flap without blade and cut. It vaporizes a layer of tissue away instead, and then the surgery proceeds the same as always. Each short laser pulse makes a bubble until an entire layer of tissue evaporates and disappears. The benefits of the femtosecond laser as opposed to a blade are greater accuracy in the size, shape and thickness of the flap to be removed. This laser removes flaps that are mere tens of micrometres thick. Many ophthalmologists believe that the thinner flap provides superior end results over the thicker blade-cut flap.

The speed of the femtosecond laser is remarkable. It pulses at less than one billionth of a second, hence the name. The benefit to the patient is that the greater speed and more precise operation reduces chances of an unsatisfactory outcome, infection or healing problems. Since it is cleaner and faster, due to its greater accuracy and predictability, it may also reduce the disruption of ocular structures.

The most popular brand of femtosecond laser is IntraLase by Abbott Medical Optics. Other brands referred to frequently by doctors in medical reviews include Carl Zeiss Meditec and Ziemer and Alcon/WaveLight. The most frequently mentioned makers of this technical product are in the United States, Germany and Japan.

Page updated Oct 05, 2012