Moving Towards Flapless, Bladeless Laser Vision Correction
The future for corrective eye surgery is trending away from the traditional cut, flap and zap methods to minimal cut and no flap procedures. Why is this so? What are the advantages of flapless, bladeless laser vision correction?
Going Flapless, Bladeless!
It may come as a surprise that LASIK has been around for as long as 18 years! But as recently as 10 years ago, not everyone would have heard about LASIK. Yet today, LASIK is pretty much a household word as commonly understood as iPhone, iPad and LED TV.
In comparison to LASIK, Advanced Surface Ablation techniques like epi-LASIK have only been in popular use for the past six years. As such, it does have some catching up to do! That being said, the flapless, bladeless epi-LASIK has been slowly but surely emerging as the good, safe choice for laser vision correction. Performed on the surface of the cornea, whereby only the frontal surface of the cornea is sculpted by laser, epi-LASIK protects the structural integrity of the cornea, thus completely eliminating flap problems that are the most common cause of LASIK complications.
There is also the added safety advantages in the field of sports, especially for the active sportsperson involved in contact sports such as martial arts, rugby and boxing. The absence of a cut flap means there is totally no risk of flap dislogement from traumatic injury. The same advantage holds true for those in the military and certain vocations such as fireman and civil defence forces.
As eye doctors around the world learn more about the dangers of cornea thinning, flap complications and dry eyes, they are increasingly including flapless, bladeless surface procedures such as epi-LASIK in their “surgical bag of tricks” to help patients achieve their desired goal of clear vision safely with the least risk of complications. The increasing number of epi-LASIK procedures done around the world is a strong testimony of this fact.
8 Advantages Of Flapless, Bladeless Procedures
1. No Cut, No Flap
Flapless, bladeless procedures, like epi-LASIK do not cut into the cornea to create a flap. As such, there is no risk of flap-related complications such as flap infections, flap inflammations, flap wrinkles and flap dislodgment that exists with LASIK.
You may experience discomfort and poor vision if debris is being trapped beneath the cornea flap causing inflammation (Sands of Sahara).
Cornea flap dislodgment can occur as a result of sports injury or a finger poke injury from a child. You will need to see the eye doctor immediately if this occurs.
2 Preserve Cornea Structure
Since there is no cut made to the cornea, there is less cornea weakening as cutting the cornea will leave a thinner cornea residual bed. Cornea strength and structure are better preserved in flapless, bladeless procedures. In addition, medical complications such as cornea thinning are kept at bay. Cut and flap procedures like LASIK wastes cornea tissue to create the flap.
In epi-LASIK about 60 um of surface cells is removed and these will regenerate back after 5 days.
In LASIK the cut flap is from 110 um to 160 um thick.
3 Preparation for the Future
In flapless, bladeless procedures such as epi-LASIK, lesser cornea tissue is wasted through a cut flap and a thicker cornea bed preserved. Precious cornea tissue preserved can come in handy for future enhancement procedures e.g. for presbyopia (“lao hua”) when our eyes age naturally.
4 Suitable for More Eyes
There is hope yet for those who have been rejected from LASIK because of thin cornea problems! We’re now able to turn to flapless, bladeless procedures such as epi-LASIK, which reshapes the cornea curvature only at the surface with more preservation of cornea tissue.
5 Better Option for those with High Myopia & Astigmatism
It is a medical fact that the higher your myopic and/or astigmatism powers, more of your cornea tissue is needed to be used for laser sculpting. In flapless, bladeless procedures, laser sculpting can begin right at the surface, leaving the cornea with more cornea tissue.
This means that many of those with high myopia power or high astigmatism can now have a second chance at getting their vision corrected!
6 Less Dry Eyes
Because flapless, bladeless procedures like epi-LASIK do not involve the cutting of a flap, no severing of cornea nerves take place. It is from my own personal experience with thousands of epi-LASIK eyes that dry eyes, if it occurs, last for a shorter time and is not permanent.
7 Eliminates Risk of Flap Dislodgement
Flapless, bladeless procedures completely eliminate the risk of flap dislodgement since no flap is created at all. For LASIK patients, flap dislodgement can occur from traumatic injury such as when a badminton shuttlecock hits the eye or a finger poke injury.
8 Suitable for the Active Sports Person or those in the Military
With flapless, bladeless procedures, there is no longer fear when participating in active contact sports or active military duties. Go about your sporting, boxing, martial arts, military or aggressive traveling pursuits with absolute freedom!