Results with newer bladeless LASIK equivalent to standard microkeratome LASIK

May 03, 2006

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A Mayo Clinic study comparing femtosecond (bladeless) and mechanical microkeratome LASIK surgeries has found equal results from both types six months post-surgery, using a variety of vision and eye health measurements. The study's findings will be presented next week in three abstracts at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) involves treating nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism by reshaping the eye's cornea to alter the way the eye refracts light. LASIK involves creating a flap, removing a defined amount of corneal tissue by an excimer laser, and replacing the flap. In standard LASIK with a mechanical microkeratome, the flap is created by a blade; in bladeless LASIK, the newer type, the flap is created by a femtosecond laser.

"At six months after surgery, there are no differences between the eyes that had bladeless or microkeratome LASIK with respect to visual acuity (vision as measured by reading an eye chart), contrast sensitivity (ability to discriminate bright objects from dark objects), or in perception of stray light or glare, such as the glare from oncoming headlights," says Sanjay Patel, M.D., Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist and study investigator.

Given the equivalent findings thus far in eye health and vision between the two types of LASIK, Dr. Patel slightly prefers bladeless LASIK due to its potential safety, which was not measured in his study. "I'd say the short-term outcomes are equal and the risks are, in theory, less with the bladeless technique, although our study was not designed to compare risks," he says. "Bladeless LASIK is potentially safer because of its computer-controlled precision, the ability to visualize the flap being created, and to stop the procedure whenever necessary. That said, however, the risk of complications with a traditional, microkeratome blade is very small: some vision loss from surgery with a microkeratome blade occurs in well under 1 percent of all cases. The long-term risks of either procedure, however, are unknown, and defining them is the primary purpose of our study."

The study followed 20 patients who received LASIK for nearsightedness or astigmatism. Each patient was treated with microkeratome LASIK in one eye and bladeless LASIK in the other eye. The researchers found no difference in subbasal nerve density between types of surgery, though the density decreased after both treatments compared to density before LASIK. Corneal sensitivity did not differ between microkeratome and bladeless LASIK. Subbasal nerve density and corneal sensitivity do not impact vision, but rather the potential to heal from a scratch or other injury to the eye. High-contrast visual acuity, the capability to see fine details, and contrast sensitivity, the ability to perceive contrast in objects and their environments, also did not differ between LASIK types. The researchers found corneal backscatter was greater with bladeless LASIK for the first three months after surgery, yet the patients perceived no difference in vision after three months between their eyes treated with bladeless or microkeratome LASIK. Backscatter is haziness in the cornea that is usually invisible to the naked eye and is identified through testing in a physician's office. Cell densities in all layers of the cornea also did not differ between the LASIK surgeries.

The ultimate goal of the Mayo Clinic study of microkeratome versus bladeless LASIK is to obtain long-term information about patients' vision and eye health five years following surgery. The results presented now represent the first six months of findings.
-end-
Other Mayo Clinic researchers involved in this study include: Cherie Nau; Jay McLaren, Ph.D.; Jay C. Erie, M.D.; Leo Maguire, M.D.; and William Bourne, M.D. None of the investigators has any commercial interests. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Research to Prevent Blindness, and Mayo Clinic. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.

Mayo Clinic

Related Visual Acuity Articles from Brightsurf:

Do neural networks dream visual illusions?
This is the question studied by researchers at the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, led by Marcelo Bertalmío together with Jesús Malo, a researcher at the University of Valencia.

Balance dysfunction after traumatic brain injury linked to diminished sensory acuity
Compared with the control group, the TBI group had higher perturbation perception thresholds (PPT) and lower functional scores on balance - findings with important implications.

Visual working memory is hierarchically structured
Researchers from HSE University and the University of California San Diego, Igor Utochkin and Timothy Brady, have found new evidence of hierarchical encoding of images in visual working memory.

The mystery of visual stability
We move our eyes several times per second. These fast eye movements, called saccades, create large image shifts on the retina -- making our visual system work hard to maintain a stable perceptual world.

Why visual perception is a decision process
A popular theory in neuroscience called predictive coding proposes that the brain produces all the time expectations that are compared with incoming information.

Visual impairment among women and dementia risk
Whether visual impairment is a risk factor for dementia was the focus of this observational study that included 1,000 older women who are participants in the Women's Health Initiative studies.

VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.

Dartmouth study finds conscious visual perception occurs outside the visual system
A Dartmouth study finds that the conscious perception of visual location occurs in the frontal lobes of the brain, rather than in the visual system in the back of the brain.

Learning to read boosts the visual brain
How does learning to read change our brain? Does reading take up brain space dedicated to seeing objects such as faces, tools or houses?

How brain rhythms organize our visual perception
Imagine that you are watching a crowded hang-gliding competition, keeping track of a red and orange glider's skillful movements.

Read More: Visual Acuity News and Visual Acuity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.