Most people considering LASIK surgery start the process by educating themselves online about different aspects of the procedure: the technology used, what to expect, recovery time, costs, and the list goes on. But these potential LASIK surgery candidates quickly become overwhelmed by all the terminology they encounter online - Wavefront, Custom, Optimized, Guided, Topoguided! What does it all mean? We’re here to help.
First, you want to make sure you are considering all-laser LASIK surgery, no blades! LASIK surgery is a two-step process, so there are two lasers involved. You want to make sure step one (in which a corneal flap is created that allows the second laser to access the cornea) is executed with a laser and not a blade. We have proven and successful technology to perform both steps of LASIK surgery without blades, so why would you choose a blade over no blade? It’s an easy decision.
Step two is the laser that actually corrects your vision. Do not be fooled by the word custom! Nearly all LASIK surgery is custom to some degree. In the current medical environment, there is really no such thing as non-custom LASIK surgery and that’s how it should be. That’s how you get great results! The type/level of customization depends on the lasers that are being used by your surgeon. Some lasers can perform a single type of customization, while other lasers can perform all types.
Prior to 2003 – Regular LASIK surgery that was not customized.
2003 – Wavefront Guided LASIK introduced on the VISX laser. This was the first time there was software and diagnostic testing that links to the laser. This testing looks for aberrations or visual imperfections or distortion and tries to correct them.
This technology had two major shortcomings:
2004 – Wavefront Optimized LASIK was introduced. With Wavefront Optimized LASIK, the laser customizes the procedure to maintain the natural shape of your cornea after treatment because it knows the shape beforehand. Think of this technology as preventing the creation of unwanted aberrations. For the patient, this means a significant decrease in the risk of developing glare & halos. The Wavelight Allegretto 200 was the first laser with this technology to be FDA approved.
Please note that Wavelight is the name of the laser, not to be confused with Wavefront, the name given to the procedure.
2008 – The Wavelight Allegretto laser featured further advancements, mainly with eye tracking, and was introduced as the Allegretto 400. This was the first laser that could perform EITHER a Wavefront Guided or a Wavefront Optimized treatment. Over time it became obvious that given the choice, LASIK surgery outcomes were more predictable and results were longer lasting using its Wavefront Optimized abilities.
2014 – The Wavelight Allegretto 400 was updated with an even faster eye tracker in anticipation of the next big advancement in LASIK surgery. This laser was called the EX500.
2016 – With the addition of a diagnostic corneal mapping device and some hardware changes, the WaveLight EX500 became capable of performing a Topography Guided treatment for LASIK surgery patients. With this technology, the procedure is ultra-customized with corneal mapping information unique to each eye incorporated into the treatment. In essence, this is a combination of Wavefront Optimized and Topography Guided, and is branded as Contoura Vision.
At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, Dr. Mozayeni has owned and utilized all of the above technologies and lasers, so we can speak with confidence that our current EX500 laser is the most advanced laser available in the United States. It provides the most comprehensive combination of technologies available to patients, thus providing the most customized LASIK surgery procedure and results. Contact us today to schedule a free LASIK surgery consultation.