A. Traditional LASIK is a very good procedure. In fact, Dr. Berg has done thousands of cases with the traditional approach and technology. While the risk of complication in his hands is very minimal, all surgeries carry some degree of risk. Now, an advanced laser technology is available that significantly reduces the risk of complications. It is known as IntraLASIK.
A. LASIK surgery is actually a 2 step process. First, a flap of corneal tissue must be created and then folded back. The cornea is the transparent dome-like structure that covers the iris and pupil of your eye. By creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon is able to perform the laser vision correction treatment on the inner layer of the cornea, which practically eliminates any patient discomfort and allows for a rapid visual recovery.
Traditionally, the surgeon created the corneal flap with a hand-held mechanical device which utilizes a metal blade. This method has worked well over the years; however, the performance of these devices can be unpredictable. And although LASIK complications are rare, this mechanical device is frequently the source for many of the reported complications.
With IntraLASIK, the surgeon uses the precision of a laser to create the corneal flap. The accuracy of the laser (± 10 microns) is unparalleled by any other technology in vision correction surgery. This advanced technology puts unprecedented control in the hands of the surgeon, and even allows him to customize the corneal flap for every individual patient. Because of its consistent accuracy, IntraLASIK now makes it possible to treat many patients who were dismissed as candidates for laser vision correction due to thin corneas.
A. IntraLASIK is considered by many to provide a safer approach to vision correction surgery. This is a result of the superior precision of a computer controlled laser as compared to that of a hand-held mechanical device. The mechanical device houses a metal blade which cuts across the cornea to create the flap. IntraLASIK accomplishes the flap procedure with a laser instead of a blade, and does not travel across the cornea; these features reduce the risk of complications.
IntraLASIK provides a safer procedure because of its precision. This precision was documented in studies conducted for the FDA clearance of the laser, where the accuracy of flap thickness was demonstrated at +/- 10 microns. Precise flap thickness is critical to a successful LASIK outcome, and IntraLASIK created flaps feature a consistent thickness from edge to edge. Again, this degree of accuracy is unprecedented in flap creation technology to date.
Finally, greater flap stability was also demonstrated with IntraLASIK flaps in studies for the laser’s FDA submission. Although the incidence of flap slippage is rare in LASIK, the consequences can be quite problematical, the assurance that the IntraLASIK created flap will be securely re-positioned without incident provides added peace of mind for many patients.
A. No, but IntraLASIK seems to reduce the risk of complication reported with traditional LASIK, and we feel that is very important for our patients.
A. The INTRALASE™ FS Laser has been cleared by the FDA and became commercially available on a limited basis in 2001. The INTRALASE FS Laser is the only laser that provides IntraLASIK. To date, over 60,000 procedures have been completed with no significant complications reported. Dr. Berg is among an elite group of key opinion leaders in ophthalmology who continually evaluate technologies and adopt them into practice as soon as they become available.
A. Today it is known that visual outcomes with IntraLASIK are comparable with those of traditional LASIK. Studies are now underway to evaluate whether results with IntraLASIK might be even better, as has been anecdotally reported.
A. Be sure to ask for IntraLASIK by name. Only IntraLASIK offers the safety of micron level precision of a truly all laser surgical approach. Other providers may advertise all-laser, but you should ensure that IntraLASIK is indeed being used to create your flap. Your surgical provider should be happy to answer any questions you may have about your procedure in great detail.
A. Because we feel this is very compelling technology that significantly raises the standard for safety in vision correction surgery, we are recommending IntraLASIK for all of our patients. You should discuss your concerns directly with Dr. Berg as certain vision disorders and corneal anatomy may be associated with a higher degree of risk. Dr. Berg will help you to decide which is best for you.
A. Advanced technologies are usually more expensive for the surgeon to employ in his practice. Most patients agree that the added level of safety and assurance offered by IntraLASIK is well worth the additional cost when considering vision correction surgery.