Wavefront Technology and LASIK
Submitted by Dr. Dean Dornic on Sun 09/02/2012 - 12:42
Early in the history of LASIK eye surgery, a small sub-group of patients complained about the quality of their vision. Some actually had 20/20 levels of vision but described issues of “vision not being crisp” or “poor contrast”. Some complained of disturbed night vision: star-bursting or halos around lights. Out of a desire to solve these patients complaints, the science of wave-front guided LASIK science was born.
A standard LASIK procedure is based solely on a patient’s eyeglass prescription. A wavefront-guided LASIK is a treatment based on all of the eye’s measured optical aberrations. These aberrations are measured with a sophisticated device called a wavefront-analyzer, which essentially takes a “fingerprint” of the eye. This unique “fingerprint” is then recorded and used to correct vision with a sophisticated, computer-controlled laser.
But the use of a wavefront-analyzer to perform LASIK added time and cost to the procedure. A “shortcut” was developed to reduce time and cost: the wavefront-optimized LASIK procedure. An “optimized” LASIK procedure was designed to be aberration-neutral, neither creating nor reducing aberrations. The treatment is still based on the refractive prescription in glasses. It does not measure and cannot correct optical aberrations in the eye.
A wavefront-optimized procedure is better than a standard LASIK procedure because it tends to reduce the incidence and severity of new aberrations. A wavefront-guide procedure is even better than a wavefront-optimized procedure because it actually measures and treats pre-existing higher-order aberrations Wavefront-guided LASIK procedures, just like optimized, can minimize induction of spherical aberrations. But it can also measure and treat other higher-order aberrations.
There is no disputing that wavefront-guided LASIK uses much higher technology and is more expensive than standard or wavefront-optimized LASIK. But the real advantage of a wavefront-guided LASIK is more than just higher technology. Studies have demonstrated that a wavefront-guided LASIK results in better outcomes and better visual quality — especially when it comes to vision at night or in a dark environment, or when there is a high visual demand.
A wavefront-optimized LASIK procedure tends to reduce the incidence of visual side-effects as compared to standard LASIK but for the ultimate in outcomes, choose a wavefront-guided LASIK procedure.