Conventional LASIK eye surgery has been around since 1995, but wavefront-guided LASIK has been widely available for only about a year and a half. Doctors and companies are promoting it as being better than regular LASIK, but it is more expensive. Patients and some physicians have questioned whether or not it is worth the extra cost.
LASIK uses a laser to reshape the front part of a patient's eye to correct visual errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Conventional LASIK guides the laser by using treatment formulas based on much of the same information gathered when a patient has examinations for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Wavefront-guided LASIK analyses light that is reflected from the back of the patient's eye, to see how the light is distorted by visual errors in the eye itself. Special equipment then makes a custom treatment plan for that eye and guides the laser in applying the treatment. It is that customization that produces the superior results, Schallhorn said.
"Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK, complications are a real possibility, and some patients may still need glasses," Schallhorn cautioned adding, "the most satisfied patients are those who are well informed and have realistic expectations for what their results are likely to be."
Contact: John Ciccone
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery