Wavefront LASIK Eye Surgery
Ten years ago, everything we knew about lasers we learned from George Lucas.  Today, lasers are everyday surgical tools used by medical doctors and ophthalmologists.  One of the common surgical procedures involving lasers is called Wavefront LASIK eye surgery.

Wavefront aberration mapping and image enhancement are procedures that have been used by astronomers for many years.  A German physicist named Zernicke first developed the Wavefront theory in the 1930's.  Wavefront mapping of the eye was first performed in 1994.  In October 2002, the FDA approved the Custom Cornea Wavefront LASIK procedure. 

Many patients benefit from Custom Wavefront LASIK, which is a technologic enhancement to conventional LASIK surgery.  From the patient and surgical viewpoints, these two LASIK procedures are identical.  While Custom Wavefront LASIK may be very appropriate for some, it can be an unnecessary procedure, or even the wrong approach for others.  Doctors use considerations such as the magnitude of the patient's eye higher-order aberrations, pupil size and corneal thickness to determine which procedure is best.

While conventional LASIK was and is still a very effective treatment for astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia, the new Wavefront LASIK procedure has enabled surgeons to provide patients with improved visual results.  These findings are the result of a recent study by the FDA. 

The main difference between Wavefront LASIK and conventional LASIK treatment lies in the measurement of the eye's optics.  Accurate measurement of the optics of each eye is essential to providing the patient's best visual outcome from the LASIK procedure.  From these measurements, a series of numbers and calculations are prepared.  These calculations are used to program the laser for reshaping the cornea. 

Prior to performing a Wavefront LASIK procedure, the surgeon will objectively measure the eye using either a handheld instrument or an automated measuring device.  He or she will then subjectively refine the measurement. 

Unlike traditional LASIK surgery that uses an average measurement of the eye's optical system, custom Wavefront LASIK uses a wave print of the eye's optical system as the guide for laser reshaping.  This wave print is twenty-five times more accurate than an average measurement, because data about the eye's optical system is collected from hundreds of separate points over the central 6 mm area of the cornea.  Rather than using an average measurement taken from the central 6 mm to reshape the entire cornea, the reshaping is customized at each of hundreds of points from which the measurements are taken. 

These corneal measurements are like fingerprints; in comparing eyes examined in this manner, no two optical systems are identical.  Therefore, no correction procedure is the same as another.   Every Wavefront LASIK surgery is personalized specifically for the patient. 

In the end, patients of Wavefront LASIK surgery enjoy improved visual outcomes, and there is a reduction in the night vision problems that are common with traditional LASIK procedures.