a eye clinic near me is promoting iFS intralase for vision correction. their ads say iFS is safer and faster than Lasik because its the latest technology. Is it really safer and better or is this just a marketing gimick?
IFS Intralase Vs. Lasik - Will IFS Reduce Risk of Complications?
Doctor Answers (3)
Is Intralase Safer than Mechanical LASIK
The short answer is yes. The mechanical method of creating the corneal flap, which composes the first step of LASIK, was widely used from the mid 1990's until 2002. Since then the all laser method(Intralase, also called femtosecond technology) has by and large replaced the mechanical method in all but the discounted environment. So, hearing a laser center or doctor talking about "all laser lasik" or "Intralase" is in no way a marketing gimmick. It is a fantastic and safe treatment and, frankly, the only way I perform LASIK.
IFS and complications
The iFS is the newest generation of Intralase. LASIK using the Intralase or other femtosecond laser is definitely safer than "bladed" LASIK. THe complication rate of creating the flap is less than 1:1000. IT will be difficult to provee that this generation of laser has fewer complications due to the rarity with femtosecond laser.
To choose a surgeon for your LASIK procedure, make sure that you feel comfortable with them, they have onsite equipment which is maintained and state of the art, and will take the time to meet you before your procedure.
Femtosecond LASIK is the emerging standard of care and is recommended
Since LASIK first began in the mid 1990's one of the biggest advancements was that of making the flap with a femtosecond laser rather than a blade. I was one of the first three doctors in the world to introduce this technology and continue to be a consultant in the field. The newest Intralase, iFS, has some improvements over the previous generation, but the important thing is to have some sort of femto LASIK rather than a blade. This particular laser is faster than its predecessor, running at 150,000 spots per second or Hz. It is also able to modify the side cut angle to a reverse bevel which may have some advantages. The greater speed gives a faster procedure and can be done at a lower energy setting, but it is fundamentally the same as the 60,000 spots per second Intralase that most doctors currently employ for their procedures.
We are one of a few sites now using an even more advanced technology, the 500,000 spots per second Visumax femtosecond laser, which also can make the reverse bevel sidecuts. There are other femto lasers on the market which have varying features, but these two are currently the best technology in my opinion.
Again, I think that the femto LASIK has matured into the emerging "standard of care" for LASIK because of the increased safety, accuracy, and results from this type of method over the microkeratome bladed LASIK which is based on very old technology. Many doctors still feel comfortable with the bladed method, and it is usually less expensive for the patient.
In summary, iFS is an evolutionary improvement, but not enough to choose a particular provider on that basis alone. Also investigate other makers of femtosecond lasers but choose one of these over a bladed LASIK procedure.