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How Technology Affects LASIK Procedures

There is no doubt that we live in the technology age. Almost every minute of everyday technology has changed the way we live our daily lives.

The Internet and smartphones have changed our world. More and more people are shopping online instead of brick and mortar stores. Most people use GPS driven navigational apps instead of paper maps to find their way around town. Some use rideshare services instead of taking taxis or driving their own cars. Over the years medical treatments have evolved right along with all of these other technological advancements.

Some of the doctors at 20/20 Institute have been involved in the field of Refractive Surgery (which is the specialty in Ophthalmology that helps patients surgically reduce or eliminate their need for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses) for over 25 years. In that period of time, they have seen some significant advancements in Refractive Surgery technology.

These advancements made a significant impact on the safety and efficacy of vision correction surgery. Sparing you the long overview of every advancement in the field, this article focuses on what differences exist today that a patient should be aware of when making the decisions about having LASIK.

There are several key technology areas a patient should be aware of when seeking a LASIK provider and how that provider’s Refractive Surgery technologies can have an impact on the accuracy of the patient’s visual outcome, in addition to the effect on the short- and long-term safety and stability of the patient’s vision.

Technology and LASIK Candidacy

The first area where technology plays a role is in providing data that assists the doctor in determining a patient’s candidacy for Refractive Surgery.  In addition to assisting with determining candidacy for a patient, the diagnostic technology also helps the doctor recommend which procedure would likely be the best short- and long-term option for that patient.

Not all LASIK centers use the same diagnostic equipment. For LASIK, the analysis of the cornea is most important. Most LASIK doctors tend to agree that the Pentacam by Oculus is the gold standard for the assessment of the cornea and the anterior chamber of the eye prior to the consideration of any surgery on the front part of the eye.

The Pentacam itself utilizes different software programs that report the Pentacam data. The Belin/Ambrosio Enhanced Ectasia software package is optional with the Pentacam, not all LASIK providers have this technology.

This software is one of the most significant advancements to assist the doctor preoperatively in determining candidacy and predicting the long-term stability of the cornea. It’s a good idea to be sure that the LASIK Provider that you are considering uses the Pentacam with the Belin/Ambrosio Enhanced Ectasia software package for all LASIK Evaluations.

From Blades to Lasers

The second area of technological advancement in LASIK is how the first step of LASIK (corneal flap creation) is performed. In the early days of LASIK, the corneal flap was created by using an automated device called a microkeratome that utilized a blade to cut the patient’s cornea to make the flap.

Today’s modern microkeratomes use a femtosecond laser to fashion the corneal flap, no blades are involved. Almost all LASIK doctors agree that using a laser to create the corneal flap is more precise and safer than using the blade to cut the flap. Patients should seek out providers that use this most advanced form of corneal flap technology.

Shorter Treatments, Quicker Recovery

The last area and likely the most important area of advanced technology for LASIK is the excimer laser technology that will be used to reshape the patient’s cornea, or in essence, take away the patient’s eyeglass prescription. This is where most of the action is when determining several aspects of the patient’s post-operative visual outcome.

 Just as smartphone technology has dramatically advanced over the last 20 years, so has the technology that is used with the most modern excimer lasers. There are many advantages to the advancements in today’s excimer lasers.

Today’s lasers have better eye tracking than years past. This ensures that the laser treatments are placed where the surgeon intends. Patients no longer have to worry about keeping their eye still during their treatment.

Faster lasers produce much shorter treatment times.  This leads to quicker recovery times; now it is quite common that patients can achieve 20/20 or better vision the very next morning after LASIK.

Advanced lasers have enhanced laser beam size, placement and energy. This also tends to produce visual results that have improved night vision for patients after LASIK. Furthermore, today’s modern excimer lasers produce much higher rates of 20/20 or better vision post operatively than their earlier predecessors.

Contact 20/20 Institute

At 20/20 Institute, 99 percent of all of our LASIK eyes in 2018 achieved 20/20 or better vision. That level of success was unheard of 10-15 years ago.

If you are considering LASIK, it would be wise to know the specific technologies that your potential LASIK provider will be using for everything LASIK related, from your evaluation to your actual treatment.

At 20/20 Institute we would be happy to chat with you over the phone or at one of our complimentary LASIK consultations to discuss the specifics of our LASIK technology.

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