What is Bladeless LASIK?
Dr. Stewart Shofner is one of the first laser vision correction facilities in Middle Tennessee to offer all laser Z-LASIK vision correction procedure. The new Swiss technology Ziemer laser is the latest technology for an all laser LASIK procedure.
Is "Bladeless" worth the extra cost?
Many patients in Nashville and around the country ask Dr. Shofner and Dr. Johnson about Bladeless LASIK (also known as IntraLase) and wonder if it is worth the extra cost; usually an additional $500 to $1000 per eye. Interestingly, many LASIK surgeons debate this same question. Note that some LASIK surgeons have a vested interested in Bladeless LASIK due to the high cost (estimated $500,000) for this technology. Some key points about Bladeless LASIK are:
With ALL LASIK procedures, a hinged flap is created over the cornea and, after the Excimer Laser does its magic to reshape the eye, the flap is laid back down over the cornea.
With Bladeless LASIK, a high energy laser cuts a thin, hinged flap. The alternative method for LASIK is to create the flap with the help of a Microkeratome blade. The bottom line is that with both methods, the cornea is still cut creating a hinged flap so that the Excimer laser can access the cornea and reshape the eye.
Some surgeons have suggested that the term Bladeless should not be used to compare the two procedures since a flap is created with both methods. Both methods have been proven to be extremely safe.
The only true "Bladeless LASIK is "PRK." PRK simply reshapes the top of the cornea after a thin layer of skin called the epithelium is removed. No flap is created with PRK. The recovery time with PRK is, however, longer since the epithelium must heal.
Research has shown that the results are pretty much the same no matter how the flap is created. Mayo Clinic investigators in Rochester, Minn. found no statistically significant differences in vision quality between "Blade" and "Bladeless" LASIK procedures; reported in a small study reported in May 2006. The study compared six-month outcomes in 20 patient's eyes. A much larger follow-up report, published in the May 2010 issue of American Journal of Ophthalmology, again found no significant differences in outcomes between the two methods of flap-making after a three-year interval.
Which LASIK Procedure is Best for You?
In determining which procedure is best for you the patient, consider the experience of the doctor. In the hands of an experienced surgeon like Dr. Stewart Shofner, the use of a microkeratome to create the flap is a safe, affordable way to obtain vision correction with LASIK. However, the "Bladeless" Z-LASIK that Dr. Shofner also uses provides a very precise cut to create the "Flap". Some people prefer the Z-LASIK because they do not like the idea of a blade being use to create the "flap". Dr. Shofner and Dr. Johnson can help you make the decisions as to which "flap" method works best for you.
However, if you are simply afraid of the blade or any procedure in which a "flap" is made, you might consider the truly bladeless and long established procedure called Photo Refractive Keratectomy or "PRK" where no flap is created.
Dr. Shofner of Shofner Vision Center in Nashville, TN has performed over 30,000 LASIK or PRK procedures (including a number of US Military Personnel) in middle TN. Your complimentary examination will help you determine which procedure is best for you. And we never pressure anyone to have surgery.