Wavefront LASIK - Laser Eye Surgery Guide

Wavefront LASIK is an innovative method of eye correction that is also often called Custom LASIK. The procedure is tailored specifically to you eye to try and deliver the best results. This particular treatment employs a sensor method to gage the exact measurements and contours of the eye. The actual 'wavefront' aspect of LASIK treatment is representing the technological computer part of the procedure, whereas the LASIK comprises the actual surgery.

The high level of technology involved in Wavefront LASIK is reflected in the price. It is significantly more expensive that procedures such as traditional LASIK, however, it may be seen worth the extra cost due to the level of quality provided by the treatment. The Wavefront LASIK is also more flexible as it can help individuals who have quite serious refractive errors that lead to them having a rather high level prescription. This is not the only advantage, it also have an even faster recovery time that LASIK, which is already known as having a quick healing process.

There are two different types of Wavefront LASIK currently available to patients. Firstly is Optimised Aspheric Treatment Zone or OATZ, which is aimed to treat those who have got normal shaped corneas with sufficient focussing ability but their actual eyes are not spherical enough for 20/20 vision. The other version of Wavefront treatment is Customised Aspherica Treatment Zone or CATZ. Unlike OATZ, this type of LASIK is directed more specifically to those who have problems with their cornea.

Suitable candidates for Wavefront LASIK

Primarily, Wavefront LASIK is ideal if you have problems with your vision due to your eye not being perfectly spherical, as opposed to your cornea being misshapen. Also, this particular technique is useful if your cornea is thinner than what is considered normal because the procedure does not cause much further thinning like other laser surgery treatments.

You are probably most suited to Wavefront LASIK if your eyesight issues are a result of moderate or severe refractive errors. Not only this, but if you have poor night vision due to the natural size of your pupils, Wavefront can also benefit you significantly. As Wavefront LASIK is very specialised and technologically advanced, it is best to have a detailed consultation with an eye surgeon to fully assess your suitability for the procedure.

Potential risks associated with Wavefront LASIK

Risks are associated with any type of medical procedure that has some level of invasiveness and Wavefront LASIK is no different. However, compared to the other types of laser eye corrective treatments, the number of potential complications is minimal. This can be supported by the fact that to date, only 0.03% of patients who have undergone Wavelength LASIK have experienced complications.

Of these few complications, those that have been reported include blurry vision, dry eyes, halos when looking at images and eye infections although these are more common with other laser eye surgery methods. Further potential risk factors associated with Wavefront LASIK are the formation of a corneal flap leading to a condition known as Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis or DLK.

DLK is more commonly referred to as 'Sands of Sahara' and is a medical condition that comes about because cell debris gets lodged beneath the corneal flap. This stuck material leads to the individual feeling as if they have got dirt trapped in their eye. This can subsequently cause scarring of the corneal tissue as well as potentially resulting in eyesight loss.

Although the latter is very unpleasant and serious, it is extremely rare and you may deem it as a risk willing to take. The risk of DLK is minimised further as a specialised computer controls the laser. This ensures that it only acts on precise locations to limit complications.

The benefits of Wavefront LASIK

The primary benefit of Wavefront LASIK is that the vast majority of patients leave the clinic with perfectly clear vision. Not only this, but Wavefront LASIK can be employed to correct the minor complications that can occasionally result from other laser eye surgery procedures.

The advanced technology that constitutes Wavelength LASIK allows your entire cornea to be accurately mapped. This allows your eye surgeon to identify particular locations for correction on the cornea. This can subsequently result in even tiny flaws being removed so your vision can be optimised significantly. Furthermore, Wavefront LASIK does not act by removing too much corneal tissue. This makes it an ideal treatment for those who already have a thin cornea as it will preserve the tissue and consequently maintain eyesight.

The cost of Wavefront LASIK eye surgery

The step up in technology and result quality between standard LASIK and Wavefront LASIK can seemingly justify the increase in expense. The price is dependent on the clinic, surgeon and the eye issue being resolved, however a general price is approximately £1900 per eye. If you wish for a more accurate estimate then you should attend a detailed consultation with the eye surgeon you wish to perform your Wavefront LASIK treatment.

The Procedure

The procedure that makes up Wavefront LASIK is not dissimilar to the more traditional LASIK surgery. Your surgeon will employ the use of a laser to form a little flap out on the cornea's epithelium. This flap is moved out of the way to ensure the laser has full access to the cornea so it can change the shape and correct refractive errors.

The actual difference between normal LASIK and Wavefront LASIK is that during Wavefront, your surgeon is able to map out your cornea exactly as it is and so they can yield precise measurements. This is all done using a piece of technological equipment known as an 'Aberrometer'. This device emits thousands of beams of lights directed towards various locations of the eye. The results can be computed and analysed to help your surgeon understand your eye's condition.

This "map" of your cornea that has been produced by the aberrometer can then be programmed into the laser. This ensures that only the areas required receive the laser's treatment so the results are accurate and generally very successful. Not only these but the results are permanent, however, eyes do degenerate naturally with age.

The recovery period after Wavefront LASIK

As with the standard LASIK, the recovery time associated with Wavefront LASIK is very fast. You will be required to attend a check up appointment within the 48 hours after you laser eye surgery. After this visit, you will be recommended to make a number of regular appointments with your surgeon for the few months following the surgery.