What Does Blade-free Laser Vision Correction Really Mean?

Not all laser vision correction is blade-free. We hear the term more often now than ever before. So what does it really mean?

Traditional LASIK laser vision correction was performed with a Microkeratome, which is a fine oscillating blade used to create a flap. The flap is a thin layer (the front surface) of the cornea which is created before the laser treatment is applied. The flap is later repositioned and smoothed back into place after to help protect the eye during the healing process. This gives LASIK a relatively quick and pain-free recovery advantage. With advancing technology, blade-free IntraLase is now the most widely preferred method used to create the LASIK flap. The IntraLase laser creates a custom flap using only a laser, virtually transforming LASIK into a blade-free procedure, reducing some of the risks involved with manual keratomes.  You can even return to most normal activities the very next day!

Some practices use the term “blade-free” to describe PRK, where the laser is applied directly to the ocular surface without the creation of a flap. PRK gives similar results as LASIK, but the initial recovery time is longer as the surface layers of the cornea must regrow since they are removed before or during the laser PRK treatment. Blurred vision and some minor discomfort is to be expected during the first 3-5 days. A contact lens bandage is placed over the cornea during the healing process to help your comfort level. PRK is an excellent choice for patients with thin corneas and high impact jobs, as there is no flap created. PRK is one of the original types of laser vision correction, although technology now allows better results than ever before.

Just like your fingerprint, your eyes are unique. At Tidewater Eye Centers, we offer both blade-free IntraLase LASIK and PRK with CustomVue, WaveScan technology to give you the confidence of having the procedure which is truly best suited for you and your lifestyle.

Contact Jeana Cahoon, our Laser Vision Director, at 436-6000 ext. 5 to learn more. Our doctors offer FREE consultations to determine if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction and answer any questions you might have.