Wavefront Technology – Custom LASIK
Wavefront Technology is the scientific base for Customized LASIK laser vision correction currently being performed today. Wavefront Technology has improved the visual outcomes of patients and provided significant advantages over conventional LASIK.
What is Wavefront Technology?
The VISX® WavePrint™ system is both a diagnostic and treatment approach that allows the doctor to take very precise measurement of the patient’s eyes. This is similar to a fingerprint of your vision. Just like a fingerprint no two corneal maps are the same. In the system’s diagnostic phase, a device called the WaveScan makes a WavePrint Map, a detailed map of the patient’s vision. In the treatment phase, the laser uses the information from the WavePrint Map to perform the vision correction.
Clinical Study Results
VISX’s FDA clinical study results were remarkable. Among other things:
- At one year after the VISX CustomVue procedure;
- 100% of the clinical study participants could pass a driving test without glasses or contacts
- 98% of the clinical study participants could see 20/20 or better without glasses or contacts
- 70% of the clinical study participants could see 20/16 or better without glasses or contacts
- Four times as many clinical study participants were very satisfied with their night vision after the VISX CustomVue procedure, compared to their night vision before with glasses or contacts.
Wavefront technology was first developed in 1978 by Josef Bille, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Heidelberg, to measure wavefront distortions that occurred when light traveling through the atmosphere entered a telescopic lens. This technology removed any visual distortion or aberrations from the atmosphere allowing astrophysicists to more accurately view images of the stars and planets.
It is now possible to utilize this technology to record detailed information about the visual characteristics of the eye. Unlike standard measuring devices such as corneal topography, which measure the front surface of the eye called the cornea, the wavefront scans the way the entire optical system processes light.
“Fingerprint” of the Eye
Wavefront analysis works by measuring the distortion or irregularities of the eye, known as higher-order aberrations. When a ray of light first enters the eye, it passes through the cornea to the lens and vitreous, ultimately reaching the retina. As it bounces off the retina and returns back through the cornea, the wavefront analysis detects and documents these distortions, which are unique to each individual. Because each patient has a unique visual optical system, the wavefront data has been likened to a fingerprint.
Once the wavefront data has been documented for an individual patient, the next step is to use this information to utilize the excimer laser to correct the higher-order visual aberrations. The surgeon can then determine what adjustments must be made to the corneal surface to produce a clear, crisp image for the unique individual needs of each patient. The use of wavefront technology to provide a more precise laser vision correction is known as, “Custom LASIK” or “Wavefront-Driven LASIK”. Early data suggests that the 5-10 percent of patients who demonstrate higher-order aberrations are the patients that will significantly benefit from Custom LASIK treatments. Custom Lasik is particulary helpful for patients with significant astigmatism or large pupils. Other patients may benefit from Custom LASIK to a smaller degree.
Are You A Candidate?
Not everyone is a candidate for the LASIK procedure. Each individual person has extremely unique eyes. No 2 cornea maps are the same just like with a Fingerprint or DNA sample. This is why a pre-operative exam is absolutely necessary. Before LASIK is performed you will be required to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to determine the stability of your vision. After a thorough evaluation of your cornea, the doctors will be able to determine if you are a candidate. This thorough diagnostic evaluation is the first step in creating a positive outcome for your best possible visual outcome or personal best vision.
Your decision to have LASIK laser vision correction is a serious decision. Ultimately, you will be the one to make the final decision. When electing a LASIK surgeon it is important to select a surgeon that can understand your visual needs and explain the potential of the laser. In 98% of LASIK cases the visual outcome is 20/40 or better, however, this is a surgical procedure and risk is still involved. This is why selecting a surgeon with a vast amount experience is important. The ultimate goal of LASIK is to reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses. LASIK does not always create perfect 20/20 vision, though the vast majority of cases are successful in improving vision. Ask the right questions before selecting your surgeon. Make sure that your surgeon of choice has the right answers, the best technology and the experience under his belt to ensure a safe and effective procedure. It is possible that this is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. This is your eyes and your life.
LASIK is not an effective method for treating presbyopia, which is near vision degeneration due to the aging of the eye requiring reading glasses.