Nobody dreamed LASIK would have the impact on the world that it has.
The excimer laser and microkeratome definitely advanced the position of LASIK surgery and allowed LASIK to bloom. But two other developments—the femtosecond laser and wavefront technology—have become the gold standard for a LASIK procedure.
Femtosecond lasers allowed doctors to come up with a very predictable flap that creates fewer complications especially for patients with certain shaped corneas.
Wavefront gave LASIK surgeons a level of refinement that they did not have previously. It allowed surgeons to ablate a more sophisticated profile based on measurements from an aberrometer (a necessary diagnostic and treatment tool). Combined with computerized topography, wavefront systems provide a much greater accuracy of correction with higher-order or induced aberrations. With wavefront, the surgeon could choose a customized treatment to correct the aberrations or errors.
As an alternative to wavefront customization, companies like Wavelight and Zeiss have pioneered optimized treatments. These are based on the concept that maintains the prolate corneal shape and reduces aberrations induced from a laser procedure. It compensates for the induced asphericity and obtains excellent visual acuity.
Today, refractive surgeons are using a variety of sophisticated diagnostic tools to spot potential risks such as ectasia which can best be managed by screening out patients, preoperatively. Hence, there is the need for a surgeon with experience and one who uses sophisticated and advanced diagnostic tools for data collection, thus ensuring excellent results.
However, patients don’t care if the LASIK is wavefront-guided or topography-guided, they want to know if it will help them see better when they go to the beach – and how big the risks are, and what the process is like, and last but not the least what it costs!
So, the only adjective I can come up with that describes current LASIK outcomes is superb, and I would advise someone considering LASIK to just get on with it!!