Comparing Bladeless LASIK (iLASIK) versus Traditional LASIK

Laser vision correction surgery has revolutionized eye care and the treatment of vision issues, improving millions of lives all around the world. Prior to the brilliant invention of laser vision correction, people were either limited to glasses or contact lenses. While there are many types of laser vision correction procedures out there, perhaps the most popular procedure is Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, also known as LASIK.

If you are interested in LASIK eye surgery or have ever researched the procedure, you may have heard about the two different types: traditional LASIK and the all-laser bladeless LASIK (iLASIK). You may be wondering: is one better than the other? While the main difference refers to the technology used to the flap in the cornea, both procedures are effective and highly successful at producing long-lasting, clear results.

Close-up of man's blue eyes

Traditional LASIK

While traditional LASIK may sound “outdated” compared to bladeless LASIK, the procedure is widely used by eye surgeons and considered very safe. With traditional LASIK, a bladed instrument known as the microkeratome is used to cut a thin, hinged flap into the eye’s clear surface or the cornea. This surgery requires a highly trained and experienced Seattle eye laser surgeon to accurately cut the flap with precision. The flap is then lifted with a high-tech laser to reshape the eye for vision correction.

Traditional LASIK is usually quicker and less time is needed for suctioning. As a result, traditional LASIK is often considered a more comfortable procedure. Similar to bladeless LASIK, traditional LASIK requires up to six months for your eyes to fully recover, but you’ll notice improvements in your vision after several hours.

Bladeless LASIK

So, what exactly is bladeless LASIK? First introduced in the late 90’s, bladeless LASIK or iLASIK uses a type of high-energy laser called the femtosecond laser to create a flap in the cornea. The femtosecond laser creates a flap by breaking apart cells in the cornea rather than cutting into them.

The procedure uses advanced technology to create a unique map of your eyes, known as the WaveScan WaveFront™ map. Your Clearview eye surgeon will use this map to precisely correct your vision. One of the benefits of bladeless LASIK is that it allows your Seattle eye surgeon to personally customized procedure to your individual eyes.

Bladeless LASIK also helps to treat “higher order” aberrations, which are tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one’s quality of vision, linked to glares and halos.  These aberrations have not been previously treatable with contacts, glasses or conventional LASIK. Generally considered the safer of the two option, studies have shown a reduced risk of complications with bladeless LASIK.

During bladeless LASIK, suction is used to keep the eye still while the laser does its job. This can cause pressure on the eye, which may uncomfortable to some, especially those with glaucoma or at risk for glaucoma. Another unique possible disadvantage of bladeless LASIK is the increased risk for light sensitivity following the procedure.

Laser vision correction at Seattle’s Clearview Eye & Laser

At Clearview Eye & Laser, we highly recommend our patients learn all they can about both the traditional and bladeless LASIK procedure before deciding the best choice for them. First and foremost, it’s important to schedule a consultation at our Seattle or Burien eye care clinic to determine if you’re a qualified LASIK candidate. Just like any other medical procedure, there are risks involved so be sure to consult with your eye doctor if you’re considering LASIK.

During your consultation, we’ll carefully examine and assess your eyes to help you determine if traditional LASIK or bladeless LASIK is the right option for you. We may also recommend other vision correction procedures, such as PRK or RLE, if you’re not a LASIK candidate. If you have any questions regarding laser vision correction, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (206) 937-9600 for our Seattle eye clinic and (206) 431-9600 for our Burien clinic.