Hi, it’s Dr. Russell from VSON. When I tell people I’m a LASIK surgeon; some ask me: “Does no flap laser eye surgery exist?”
The simple answer: YES. Flapless eye surgery does exist. There are two known types of flapless eye surgery: surface procedures (i.e. PRK and TransPRK) and lenticule extraction procedures (i.e. SmartSight).
To flap or not to flap. That is the question.
The primary difference between the flap and non-flap procedures is whether we create a corneal flap.
So, a corneal flap is a primary difference between these two procedures.
During LASIK, we fold back the corneal flap, reshape the corneal tissue, and then reposition the flap.
While, during a non-flap procedure, such as SmartSight, there is no need to create a flap. Instead, lasers produce a lenticule, which the surgeon removes through a keyhole corneal incision.
The benefits of going flapless
SmartSight brings with it many benefits. For instance, SmartSight’s minimally invasive approach to surgery reduces the length of treatment time and can help reduce dry eye. That said, LASIK is still a trusted and extremely popular procedure.
The benefits of flaps versus surface procedures
The popular procedures LASIK, PRK and TransPRK, have exceptionally high success rates and low complications, but SmartSight offers specific advantages that the procedures before it did not.
One of the reasons LASIK is so popular is because vision improvement occurs right after surgery, which is immediate. In contrast, vision may take longer to stabilise after surface procedures can take a lot longer (depending on the individual, it could be days, weeks or months).
Furthermore, patients report discomfort after surface procedures while the wound heals.
It’s also worth noting that patients with extremely thin corneas may not have enough corneal tissue for the surgeon to create the flap, as the flap requires the creation of a tiny layer of corneal tissue.
What’s the flap about?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. The main thing is that we choose a surgery that will benefit you most. You can get a hint of that with a self-test, and we can establish our recommendation after an assessment.
To learn more about laser eye surgery, or if you have any questions, schedule a free assessment at VSON here.