We discussed in the last post about the two options you have: LASIK or PRK (surface laser), and how 90%+ of treatments are done via LASIK.
LASIK comes in two flavours now: blade or blade-free. The older traditional LASIK technique uses a mechanical device containing a blade (called a keratome or microkeratome) to cut a flap during the first part of the procedure. The newer, more advanced method is to use a special laser (known as a femtosecond laser) to create a flap without a blade.
These femtosecond lasers are hugely expensive (about a quarter of a millions pounds each!) so expect to pay more for this technology. Some clinics have not yet invested in femto lasers due to the high cost involved and continue to use a blade.
The benefits of a laser flap over a blade flap are becoming clear: more accurate treatment, better healing of the flap, greater strength in the cornea post-op due to significantly thinner laser flaps and greater residual thickness. Blade flaps have been used for many years and have been proven safe to date, but thinner laser flaps have added better accuracy and strength. You will see a gradual phasing out of blade flaps over laser flaps over the coming few years.
About the Author: Mr. Dave Allamby FRCS FRCOphth is a leading London-based laser eye surgeon. You may have seen him on the This Morning TV show with Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton or read one of several articles in the national press, recently for treating Denise Van Outen, rock giant Rick Wakeman and broadcaster Paul Ross. David is Medical Director at Focus Laser Vision, known as a world-leading clinic in the treatment of presbyopia, or age related loss of close vision. Focus Laser Vision is also London's only clinic to offer next-generation Z-LASIK laser eye treatment for short sight, long sight or astigmatism.