LASIK laser vision correction is essentially a two-step procedure. During the first step, a flap is created on the surface of the cornea. After the corneal flap is gently lifted, an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea in the second step.
In traditional LASIK, the corneal flap is created with a mechanical device called a microkeratome. The microkeratome has a very sharp, precise blade that gently cuts a layer of the cornea at a predetermined depth. Conversely, the IntraLase is a femtosecond laser that creates the flap by generating microscopic bubbles below the corneal surface – without ever using a blade to cut. This is the arrival of bladeless, all-laser LASIK.
Unlike the mechanical microkeratome, the IntraLase allows us to more precisely program the dimensions of your corneal flap based on the shape of your eye and the specific refractive correction desired. Tiny, rapid pulses of laser light are focused at a precise depth and diameter determined by the surgeon. The laser light passes harmlessly through the cornea and creates rows of bubbles just beneath the surface of the cornea as it moves uniformly back and forth across the eye. The IntraLase laser then stacks bubbles around the diameter of the cornea to establish edges of the flap. The entire process takes approximately 20 seconds.
The advent of the IntraLase laser has helped make LASIK laser vision correction safer and more precise than ever before. The procedure is quiet, comfortable and allows patients who were not considered candidates for LASIK, even some with thin corneas, to achieve freedom from glasses and contact lenses.