Bladeless LASIK eye surgery proving effective

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: October 10th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

LASIK eye surgery is one of the fastest-growing medical procedures in the U-S. Last year, one-million blurry-eyed Americans visited their eye doctors’ offices for this flap-and-zap laser treatment in the hope of throwing away their eyeglasses forever.

In traditional LASIK treatment, the cornea is permanently reshaped to clear blurred vision and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Eye surgeons use a blade to create a flap, removing a small amount of corneal tissue by an excimer [EK-zim-er] laser, and then replacing the flap. LASIK is being used to correct vision in people who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism.

Complications have occurred in a small percentage of patients, ranging from eye infections to nighttime glare to permanently blurred vision. But in most cases, LASIK is fast and painless.

Now, in new studies, a new type of bladeless LASIK is proving every bit as effective as the traditional treatment. Its most appealing feature is that it’s done without the cutting-edge of a surgeon-held knife. Instead, a special type of laser is used to more precisely create the corneal flap.

Mayo Clinic researchers tracked twenty patients who underwent LASIK. Each patient received traditional LASIK in one eye and bladeless LASIK in the other eye. Six months after surgery, the study yielded equal results from both types using several crucial measurements of eye health and vision.

Researchers, however, pronounced bladeless LASIK as the preferred treatment because of its potential safety. Proving once again… that seeing is believing.