In step one; we create a micro-thin flap of tissue on the outer layer of your eye, also known as the cornea. The flap is important for rapid healing, greater comfort and better vision. If it is too thick, too thin, or irregular, it could affect the quality of your vision.
Until recently, this step could only be accomplished with a mechanical device called a microkeratome. Now an amazing new FDA approved femtosecond laser technology has become available that makes the first step of flap creation even safer and more precise than ever before. A femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second. To give you an idea of how short a femtosecond is – there are the same number of femtoseconds in one second as there are minutes in the age of the universe, some 12 billion years.
Creating the Laser Flap
The most accurate femtosecond flap technology currently available is the FS200 which complements the WaveLight EX500 technology. The FS200 Femtosecond laser is step one of LASIK and is the world’s fastest flap creator; delivering precise, predictable outcomes with a standard flap created in approximately 6.0 seconds!
The laser uses an infrared beam of light to precisely separate tissue through a process called photo-disruption. In this process, the focused laser pulses divide material at the molecular level without the transfer of heat or impact to the surrounding tissue.
The flap is created from below the surface of the cornea, using an “inside-out” process.
The silent beam of laser light is focused to a precise point within the stroma (central layer of the cornea) where each pulse of the laser creates a tiny 2- to 3-micron bubble of carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Thousands of these microscopic bubbles are precisely positioned to define the flap’s dimensions, as well as the location of the hinge.
Bubbles are then stacked along the edge of the flap up to the corneal surface to complete the flap.
The process from start to finish takes approximately 6 seconds.
In Step two of LASIK, your doctor liftsopen the flap so that the WaveLight EX500 Excimer Laser can be used on the inner cornea to correct your vision. Theflap is then returned to its original position where it seals without the need for stitches.
There are some situations in which FS200 is clearly beneficial to patients looking into LASIK. The FS200 can also allow some of those who were not previously considered candidates due to thinner corneas, the ability to have the procedure. This is because the femtosecond laser is more accurate, and flaps can be made thinner. Finally, although LASIK has been performed safely for years, many potential candidates have been resistant due to fear of the mechanical creation of this corneal flap. If fear has been a major obstacle to your pursuit of laser vision correction, FS200 should provide you the peace of mind needed to move forward with the procedure.