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Wavefront LASIK advances refractive surgery

SAN FRANCISCO Millions of people have reduced their dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses over the past several years with the refractive surgery procedure known as LASIK. LASIK can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Now an enhanced version of LASIK, known as wavefront LASIK, is available. This improved system allows eye surgeons to customize the procedure for each eye, providing the possibility of even better vision.

Adapted from technology that allows land-based telescopes to produce images comparable to those generated by the Hubble Space Telescope, wavefront LASIK consists of a sensor and a laser. A wave of light from a laser beam is sent through the eye to the retina. This light is reflected back through the vitreous, the lens and the pupil. The sensor measures the irregularities at the front of the wave of light as it emerges from the eye. This produces a precise three-dimensional map of the eye's visual system, including the cornea's imperfections or aberrations.

The wavefront data is translated into a mathematical formula that the surgeon uses to program corrections into the laser, which vaporizes tissue to reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. This new technology also corrects the higher-order aberrations that cause glare, haloes and blurry images. Higher-order aberrations are distortions in the visual system that can only be detected with wavefront analysis and corrected with wavefront LASIK. This is the assessment of refractive surgeons who have begun to use wavefront LASIK systems approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"This is a major advance in LASIK technology," said Roy Rubinfeld, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and an Eye M.D. at Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Chevy Chase, Md. "With wavefront LASIK the visual results are more predictable than with traditional LASIK."

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Contact: Media Relations
media@aao.org
415-561-8534
American Academy of Ophthalmology
2-Oct-2003


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