Intralase is generally considered to be the gold standard in Lasik eye surgery as the recovery time is quicker and the complications fewer. Intralase Lasik differs from standard Lasik in the way in which the flap is created during the procedure. During Intralase, the flap is created using a laser as opposed to a mechanical blade which is used with standard Lasik. For this reason, Intralase is often referred to as bladeless Lasik. The laser that is used to create the flap is called a Femtosecond laser and this is different to the Excimer laser that is used to correct your vision.
Different clinics use different Femtosecond lasers when performing their bladeless Lasik and examples of the different types are Z (Zeimer) Lasik and Technolas Perfect Vision. Contrary to what most people believe, Intralase is actually only one type of Femtosecond laser. Focus Laser Vision for example uses the Zeimer Femtosecond laser when performing bladeless Lasik and therefore you would not see any reference to Intralase in their treatments. It is just that Focus Laser Vision has chosen to use the manufacturer Zeimer instead of Intralase. The bladeless Lasik is still performed in the same way regardless of which Femtosecond laser is being used and the advantages are the same as they are for Intralase.
The most crucial step in the Lasik procedure is the accurate creation of the flap and therefore any technology that improves this will be welcomed. Using specialist Femtosecond computer technology, the surgeon creates the ‘perfect flap for your cornea’ by using rapid pulses from the laser to create tiny bubbles within your cornea. The surgeon can then gently create a flap by separating the layers of your cornea as required. Once the flap is created the rest of the procedure is exactly the same as it is for standard Lasik, with the surgeon then lasering your cornea to eliminate your prescription. This reshaping of your cornea ensures the light entering your eye is focused precisely onto the retina and hence gives you perfect vision
Intralase Vs Microkeratome:
Standard Lasik uses a blade (microkeratome) to create the flap. The microkeratome is a mechanical instrument which means that the flap edges that are created can be uneven and irregular. This can affect the visual outcome (especially night vision) and also result in more flap complications. The most common laser eye surgery risks are associated with the creation of the flap. Having femtosecond Lasik reduces the amount of Lasik specific complications.
During bladeless Lasik, the flap is created using a laser which results in a more precise, smooth and even flap. Furthermore, the surgeon can tailor the flap to compliment the surface of your eye resulting in the ‘perfect flap’ which locks neatly back in place after surgery.
For more information on the benefits of Bladeless Lasik, you can read the following guide: What are the advantages of Intralase?
What is The Cost of Intralase?
Although some clinics will offer Intralase as their standard treatment this will generally be reflected in a higher price. Most clinics will, however, offer Intralase as an add-on treatment and on average it will cost an extra £300 per eye. To read more about the cost of laser eye surgery and Intralase you can read the following guide: A guide on laser eye surgery cost.