Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The LASIK Flap

The first step of the LASIK procedure is to create a “flap”. The flap can be created by several different instruments including a microkeratome which is an instrument with a blade to cut a thin sheet of the cornea or a femtosecond laser which creates a flap through photodisruption and tissue separation. The creation of a flap does not contribute to the correction of refractive error. The LASIK flap simply serves as a lid under which the reshaping of the cornea takes place. Although the creation of a flap with a microkeratome (blade) is generally safe and for many years was the only way a LASIK flap was made, if a complication occurred during a LASIK procedure, it almost always was related to this first step of flap creation.
The IntraLase femtosecond laser was introduced as a safer way to create a flap several years ago. It offers unparalleled safety because it offers more precise thickness settings, is more customizable, is unaffected by the shape of the patients cornea, allows the surgeon to visualize flap creation and offers a “second chance feature” In addition the flap parameters can be adjusted to create a “manhole” configuration that causes the flap to fit snug decreasing the risk of flap slippage.
Raleigh LASIK patients may be confused by “cut-rate” LASIK centers offering blade-free or All-Laser Z-LASIK assuming this is the same as IntraLase. While Z-LASIK is indeed blade-free and does offer precise thickness settings like IntraLase, it offers none of the other safety features ie customization, lack of variability related to an individual patients starting cornea shape, the surgeon can not watch the flap being created and there is no second chance feature: basically you have only one chance to get it right.
Dr. Dean Dornic is the first Raleigh area ophthalmologist to perform IntraLase all-laser LASIK. He also has considerable experience with Z-LASIK. Dr. Dornic's experience with both types of all-laser LASIK proceures make him a sought-after authority. Dr. Dornic has written and lectured on IntraLase and Z-LASIK and his conclusion: IntraLase is far superior. So don't be fooled into thinking all LASIK procedures are the same or that all Blade-Free LASIK procedures are the same. Many patients seek out our services over cheaper providers because they took the time to study the difference in technology and value their safety over a couple hundred dollars in savings.