Wavefront-Guided Technology: Improved Results after LASIK Surgery
Every year, about one million Americans choose to have laser eye surgery, or LASIK. In the traditional LASIK procedure, surgeons reshape the cornea by using a laser to remove tissue. Changing the cornea’s shape gives it improved focusing power. Most people have LASIK to correct nearsightedness, but it works for farsightedness and astigmatism as well.
Traditional LASIK has brought high levels of satisfaction to millions of Americans. But a small proportion of people do suffer side effects. Some people notice a glare, or halo, which affects night vision and even sometimes keeps them from being able to drive at night. Others have problems with dry eyes. Still others end up with vision that’s worse than it was before, even when they’re wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Now there’s a new technology that allows surgeons to determine with even greater precision whether a person is a good candidate for LASIK surgery.
New technology is more customized
The new technology is called “wavefront-guided LASIK.” With wavefront, physicians are able to measure distortions in the eye with an accuracy that has not been possible until now. The wavefront technology provides surgeons with a kind of three-dimensional map of a person’s eye. It allows surgeons to customize the traditional LASIK procedure to each patient’s unique needs.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the wavefront machines for use in July of this year.
Improved candidate selection yields fewer side effects
If you ask people who wear glasses or contacts whether they’d consider having LASIK surgery, many answer that they’re tempted, but they’re afraid of the side effects.
According to Margie Schmidt, Communications Manager at Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, “The success ratio increases with wavefront because you’re eliminating more people who would have had the side effects.” Wavefront is, “more precise on what you do and who you do it on. It’s way more specific on determining whether you’re a good candidate.”
It’s important to remember, however, that even with the wavefront-guided technology, there is still a small risk of side effects from the LASIK procedure.
The Eye Surgery Education Council; Margie Schmidt, Communications Manager, Phillips Eye Institute; U.S. Food and Drug Administration