What is it?
A Femtosecond Laser is used to create the corneal flap in LASIK and the corneal tunnel (refractive lenticule) in SMILE Laser Eye Surgery procedures. It has widely replaced the use of Microkeratomes in the majority of clinics today.
Common brand names of Femtosecond Lasers include IntraLase, ZLASIK, and VisuMax.
How Does it Work?
During your procedure, you will lay on the treatment bed facing up to allow clear access to your eyes. Anaesthetic drops will be administered to numb the surface of your eyes and your eyelids will be held open with lid holders.
The instrument will create suction between it and the cornea to ensure the eye is kept steady. A femtosecond laser beam is then delivered to create a bubble layer within the cornea, causing the epithelium to separate from the tissue underneath. The instrument is programmed to create a circular corneal flap in LASIK or a refractive lenticule in SMILE.
In LASIK procedures, the surgeon is then able to access the corneal tissue below the epithelium, allowing them to reshape the cornea as needed. In SMILE, corneal tissue is manually removed and drawn through the small tunnel that has been created by the Femtosecond Laser.
What are the Benefits?
Not only does the Femtosecond Laser allow the surgeon to create a thinner flap than is possible with a microkeratome, but it has also helped to revolutionise Laser Eye Surgery with the development of the SMILE procedure. Thanks to the introduction of SMILE, recovery times are shorter and more people are eligible for Laser Eye Surgery than ever before.
What will I feel?
During this part of the procedure, you will feel some slight pressure in your eye. This may feel strange, however, the use of anaesthetic eye drops will ensure you feel no pain. Your vision may become slightly fuzzy or dim during this step.