There are many types of lasers in the realm of ophthalmology, but LASIK can only be performed using an excimer laser. There are different companies that manufacture lasers, and each has developed a specific excimer laser. In addition, there are various laser ablations, from conventional treatments to wavefront-guided laser procedures. It should be noted that a different type of laser can be used to create a LASIK flap; this is a femtosecond laser which can stand in for a microkeratome laser.
Traditional LASIK employs the ablation pattern on most lasers. This conducts treatment on the basis of a patient’s eye lens prescription by setting parameters for each individual patient. While this is an effective approach to LASIK, it can cause irregularities like glares and night vision impairment.
The use of the Wavelight laser is the basis for Wavefront-optimized LASIK, which is founded not only on the individual’s eye lens prescription, but also on the cornea’s shape and thickness. It directs laser energy to the cornea’s margins and is known to limit the problems that arise from traditional LASIK. This type of LASIK is also known as custom LASIK, and the only deviation it offers from the conventional method mentioned above is that it treats both the general refractive problem, and also considers individual abnormalities in the eye that can also be dealt with. Irregularities are identified before the surgery and if the wavefront mapping shown noteworthy irregularities, the treatment will be adjusted to cater for them.
Some people may be better suited to undergo alternative refractive surgery other than LASIK. Some other procedures are:
a) Advanced surface ablation (ELASA) – While the LASIK procedure demands that a corneal flap is created, some surgeries omit this flap and use the excimer laser to change the cornea’s shape. They include techniques like Epi-LASIK, epipolis laser, LASEK and others.
b) Phakic intraocular lenses – LASIK is not an advisable procedure for people that have extreme myopia. This alternative method implants a lens in the eye to treat myopia.
Conductive keratoplasty – This technique offers an alternative and temporary solution for presbyipia and hyperioia. Radio frequency waves are directed to the margins of the cornea to cause it to shrink and steepen centrally. While this is a safe procedure, its effects are only temporary.