Lasiks Wavefront Technology

Lasik eye surgery is an amazing procedure that has been used around the world to improve the vision of a multitude of people. The key to successful Lasik surgery is to link the information regarding the patients visual system to the Lasik laser. In this way, the cuts performed on the cornea of the eye are customized to fit the patients individual needs. Currently, wavefront technology is the most promising method for collecting this necessary information.

What is Wavefront Technology?

Wavefront technology is a system that is capable of providing a measurement of refraction at multiple points on the eye as light is reflected upon it. This creates a “map” of sorts, which is like a fingerprint of the patients eye, because it is completely unique to the individual.

Certain conditions within the cornea affect refraction. Some of these are considered higher-order aberrations, which have been traditionally associated with irregular astigmatism. The ability to correct these aberrations can result in a better outcome after Lasik surgery. This includes a greater possibility of achieving 20/20 vision, or better. In addition, wavelength technology helps reduce the likelihood of losing the best-corrected vision, of losing visual quality and of having difficulty with night vision. In fact, clinical trials showed that nearly 80% of Lasik eye surgery patients undergoing custom surgery achieved 20/20 vision. This is a higher number of people reporting quality vision after surgery than those who underwent traditional Lasik surgery.

In addition, wavefront can help determine what patients are not ideal candidates for Lasik surgery. For some people, Lasik surgery can actually exacerbate existing visual problems and make them even worse.

How is Wavefront Technology Used?

Traditional eye exams can only detect two corneal abnormalities, these being cylindrical and spherical. A cylindrical abnormality results in astigmatism, while a spherical abnormality results in myopia and hyperopia (near sightedness and farsightedness).

Wavefront technology, on the other hand, can detect an infinite number of aberrations. It accomplishes this by using a fixation target along with an input laser beam. The laser beam generates a light source, which is a wavefront sensor that is used to measure the slope of the wavefront as it exits. The software then determines the excimer ablations characteristics.

The visual fixation target is used to help the patient maintain the proper view while the measurement is taking place. As the patient fixates, the laser beam is shined into her eye. This light is then reflected from the retina and back through the pupil. The wavefront of the light leaves the pupil and is relayed to the wavefront sensor. The refractive properties of the human eye then distort the wavefront.

As the laser beam enters the eye, it produces a flat wavefront. In the theoretically perfect eye, a wavefront that is still completely flat will reflect back. In reality this beam of light will travel through a crystalline lens that is imperfect. The light then goes through an irregular cornea and other parts of the eye. All of this in combination causes the wavefront beam to become irregular, which results in valuable data to help determine the present shape of the cornea.

After wavefront is used to evaluate and diagnose existing aberrations in the eye, it is used to create the prescription for reshaping the cornea.

History of Wavefront

Wavefront technology has actually been around for quite some time, but it has only recently been used to aid in the correction of human vision. In fact, wavefront has been used for several years by astronomers for adjusting the optics in their telescopes for a similar purpose. When the reflecting mirror inside a telescope becomes deformed (as the cornea of an eye) it can be adjusted using wavefront data. This data is used to remove aberrations, like the Earths atmosphere (just like removing the aberrations found with astigmatism in the eye).

What are the Wavefront options?

There are currently three wavefront manufacturers in the United States. These manufacturers go by the trade names of CustomVue (Visx S4 laser), CustomCornea (Alcon LADARVision laser), and Zyoptix (Bausch & Lomb Technolas 217z laser). Each of these has the ability to create a customized prescription for individual patients.

Wavefront technology is an advanced method for creating precise and individualized prescriptions for Lasik eye surgery patients. With wavefront, patients have an increased likelihood of having a successful Lasik experience.