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What Is Wavefront LASIK?

December 25, 2020

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a type of refractive surgery to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. When choosing to undergo LASIK, one can opt for the standard procedure or a more customized wavefront technique. This article will review the difference between these two methods and how to make a decision on which is best.

What is Wavefront LASIK Eye Surgery?

Wavefront technology is the most advanced LASIK technique available today. It is a custom LASIK method that corrects an individual’s vision in a personalized manner.

Wavefront LASIK vs. Standard LASIK

The eye is like a fingerprint, with thousands of unique measurements found just on the cornea alone. While two individuals may have the same glasses prescription, no two people have the exact same eye dimensions. Standard LASIK attempts to recreate your eyeglass prescription by correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. As you may remember from your refraction measurement, your eyeglass prescription is determined by finding the clearest lens you can see through. That’s because there are limited parameters available when it comes to eyeglass lenses. Traditional LASIK is then able to duplicate that correction.

In contrast, wavefront LASIK eye surgery provides a truly customized, personalized, correction for your eyes, eliminating imperfections beyond myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. These optical imperfections are called higher-order aberrations and can be of variable significance, depending on the individual. Those with significant higher-order aberrations can suffer from symptoms of glares, halos, and maybe decreased night vision, even when their myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are corrected.

The unit to measure visual correction is the Diopter. There is a greater degree of precision attainable in LASIK wavefront vs standard LASIK. Wavefront-guided custom LASIK can measure visual correction to 0.01 Diopters, whereas traditional LASIK is only able to correct 0.25 Diopters. Therefore, the visual potential is better optimized in wavefront LASIK. At the Kraff Eye Institute, the iDesign 2.0 wavefront system is used. This is the highest resolution wavefront system in the world.

Is Wavefront LASIK Worth It?

While there is a cost premium for custom iDesign 2.0 wavefront LASIK vs standard LASIK, that’s because there is a distinct difference in the visual benefits between the two techniques. Patients have a higher potential for achieving better than 20/20 vision when we utilize the iDesign 2.0 system. Wavefront LASIK can improve visual quantity and quality. This means that you may see 20/20, or better, instead of 20/25, but better yet that line on the chart may look crisper and clearer than you’d ever imagined. This can translate to better quality with your night vision, better contrast sensitivity, and improved ability to see fine detail. Is Wavefront LASIK worth it? While exact costs depend on your provider, wavefront provides measurable benefits that improve quality of life.

Types of Wavefront LASIK

There are three types of LASIK custom wavelight:

Wavefront-Guided

This technique is the most advanced type of custom LASIK. It creates a three-dimensional image of your eye, measuring exactly how light enters the cornea and travels to the retina. It precisely attempts to correct all higher-order aberrations, in addition to myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It also minimizes induced aberrations from the LASIK procedure itself. Kraff Eye Institute uses iDesign 2.0, the highest definition wavefront-guided technology.

Wavefront-Optimized

This technique measures the cornea and applies a correction factor to account for spherical aberration. While spherical aberration is one of the most common higher-order aberrations, there are others. Unfortunately, wavefront-optimized LASIK is limited in its ability to correct imperfections beyond spherical aberration. It does, however, have the capacity to minimize any induced aberrations from the LASIK procedure itself.

Topography-Guided

This technique maps the cornea to check for any irregular points. Corneal irregularities can result from scars, for example. Traditional LASIK would average these imperfections out, while a topography-guided technique attempts to correct these variations. While this method is similar to traditional LASIK, it is not really a wavefront technique, as it does not correct for higher-order aberrations.

Is custom LASIK worth it? You decide. If you’re looking for the best possible vision achievable with refractive surgery, the decision between conventional vs custom LASIK is easy. Please schedule your appointment online to discuss custom wavefront LASIK today.

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Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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