The Intralase femtosecond laser is our preferred technology used to perform the first step in LASIK – the preparation of the corneal flap. In LASIK, the pancake-like flap of the cornea acts to preserve the surface epithelial cells (which are like tiles on a floor) to promote quick healing and recovery of vision (usually overnight). Taking advantage of an advanced laser technique using a very short pulse, high speed femtosecond laser, the Intralase creates the flap in a uniquely precise mannner. The procedure is known as IntraLASIK, or more popularly as All-Laser or Bladeless LASIK. Here at the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute we use the 4th generation 150 kHz Intralase FS laser.
The Intralase laser places over a million microscopic, low energy spots which split the cornea layers to prepare the flap to meticulous specifications. Intralase is performed with numbing eyedrops and is a generally comfortable procedure. Laser application takes less than a minute. The corneal flap then is carefully lifted by the surgeon, exposing interior layers of the corneal structure.
After preparation of the flap, a second laser (the Wavelight excimer laser) sculpts the corneal tissue by removing a small amount of tissue from the corneal bed beneath the flap (analogous to removing a “tissue contact lens”).
At the end of the procedure, the corneal flap is repositioned. When the flap is replaced, it lies in the bed of excimer laser removed tissue, causing the surface to change shape with the effect of decreasing nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
At the end of the procedure, you will be asked to keep your eyes closed for 30 minutes. You will go home with clear, protective eye goggles and use eyedrops to avoid infection and control inflammation for one week.
Most people are generally comfortable after the Intralase LASIK procedure. Vision usually begins to improve the morning after the treatment. Most people can drive and work the next day depending on their occupation; however, you will be seen for an examination on that day. Restrictions include (1) no eye makeup for 3 days, (2) no swimming for 2 weeks, and (3) no eye rubbing for 2 weeks. Sports goggles should be worn when doing contact or projectile sports for one month.
Although vision improves in the first day or two, there may be changes over the next few weeks or months. You will generally see us for visits one day, one week, and 3 months after the procedure. Some patients who are overcorrected or undercorrected can be retreated with “enhancement” procedures after the 3 month examination.
Other Applications: Intralase is also used to prepare corneal channels for the Intacs procedure for keratoconus. It may also be used in a number of rehabilitative procedures of the cornea, such as full thickness and partial thickness corneal transplantation techniques in patients with a variety of corneal problems. Such laser-assisted corneal transplants are know as Intralase Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK) or femtosecond laser assissted corneal transplantation (FLACT).
The Cornea and Laser Eye Institute is located in Teaneck, New Jersey, an easy commute from Paramus, Bedminster, and Morristown, and is conveniently located for LASIK patients across the bridge in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, and Connecticut. Our NJ LASIK patients are encouraged to visit our office and have their questions answered personally.