One of the most important aspects of the LASIK procedure involves the creation of a corneal flap. This flap is made along the surface of your cornea, and it provides the laser with access to the underlying corneal tissue which needs to be reshaped. After the procedure, the corneal flap is replaced and will gradually seal as your eyes heal.
Traditionally, a microkeratome blade was used to create the corneal flap. This surgical instrument contains an oscillating blade that creates a hinged flap along the surface of your cornea. However, advances in LASIK technology now allow for this flap to be created by a femtosecond laser. While you can receive excellent results from both methods, there are important differences between flaps created by a laser vs. a microkeratome blade.
Difference between Blade and Bladeless Corneal Flaps
Microkeratome blades create flaps that are thinner at the center and thicker on the edges. In addition, the microkeratome blade may result in “buttonholes” in the corneal flap. In contrast, the flaps made with a femtosecond laser have a consistent thickness throughout the flap. This often results in a more precise flap creation.
The other main difference between these two methods relates to the amount of suction time required. Microkeratome blades typically require significantly less suction on they eye in order to create the flap. This can result in a more comfortable experience during your procedure. However, the discomfort caused by the longer suction time required by a laser flap subsides rather quickly after surgery.
Benefits of Bladeless LASIK
Dr. Foulkes prefers the bladeless LASIK procedure. He feels this technology allows him to provide you with the best possible results. Some of the benefits you’ll experience with bladeless LASIK include:
- More consistent and predictable thickness of the corneal flap
- Ability to create a thinner corneal flap, allowing patients with higher amounts of nearsightedness to become suitable LASIK candidates
- Edges of the corneal flap will fit more securely in place after surgery, reducing healing time
- Reduced risk of LASIK complications such as corneal abrasions or LASIK-induced astigmatism
- Reduction in severity and duration of dry eyes after LASIK
In addition, the use of a femtosecond laser is much more effective for patients with irregularly shaped corneas. If you have a cornea that is too steep, too flat or unevenly shaped, a microkeratome blade has a much higher risk of flap complications. However, using a laser to create the flap in these situations will prevent the shape of your cornea from adversely impacting your results. For this reason, bladeless LASIK has significantly expanded the number of patients who are now considered suitable candidates for the procedure.
Contact our Chicago LASIK Surgeon
Please contact Foulkes Vision using the form on this page or call 630-724-1400 today to schedule a free LASIK consultation. We serve patients in Chicago, Lombard and throughout the surrounding areas of Illinois.