Confused by Laser Eye Surgery Terminology?

11 Feb 2014

Patients are often befuddled by all of the terminology surrounding laser eye surgery. It doesn’t help that to the layperson, many of the terms sound very similar.


If you are interested in getting laser eye surgery at Optilase, we regularly publish informative articles on the details of the surgery on this site, and explain some of the terminology involved.

What is IntraLase?

You may have wondered about the issue of "blade versus bladeless" and worry about the thought of a ‘blade’ going anywhere near eye. Read on for an explanation.


In traditional LASIK, some surgeons used to use an instrument known as a microkeratome cuts a thin, hinged flap into the eye's clear surface (cornea).


The microkeratome is a very thin blade. This is what people talk about when they refer to a ‘blade’ in eye surgery.


The flap then is lifted, and a specialised laser is applied that reshapes the eye for vision correction. In this type of LASIK surgery, many surgeons then replace the flap over the eye to promote faster healing.

No more blade; just laser

Nowadays the more common method of creating a LASIK flap uses a laser, rather than a microkeratome, to do so.


It’s a high-energy laser (femtosecond laser) instead of a blade, and it’s what we use at Optilase.


The first FDA-approved bladeless flap-making system in the United States, called IntraLase, was acquired by Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) in 2007 and integrated into the company's CustomVue excimer laser platform — which now is marketed as iLASIK.


Besides IntraLase, other bladeless LASIK systems include zLASIK (Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems), Femtec (2010 Perfect Vision) and Visumax (Carl Zeiss Meditec).


Femtosecond laser systems often are marketed as "bladeless" or "all laser" LASIK, and the surgeon at Optilase uses his ‘all laser’ approach.

Two types of laser used in LASIK

Just to confuse matters, patients who are receiving LASIK surgery will experience two different types of laser during the surgery.


They will first have the ‘flap’ cut using a femtosecond high energy laser, and then the actual reshaping of the cornea is done using a ‘cool-beam’ Excimer laser.


Depending on the patient, your ophthalmic surgeon may or may not replace the flap he cut with the femtosecond laser in order to get at the cornea-every single patient is assessed individually; the lasers are computer controlled and programmed with your exact eye specifications, and the entire surgery is completely customised for you.


Optilase offer a free consultation to everyone who is thinking about having laser eye surgery, to discover if they are viable candidates for surgery or not.


This consultation gives potential patients an opportunity to discuss their vision and requirements with an Optilase Optometrist, who will explain the procedure in detail to you.


Call Optilase on +353 1 223 8821 or see

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