Custom LASIK or “Wavefront-driven LASIK”
is a recent advancement in laser vision technology that allows the
surgeon to personalize the procedure and to potentially improve the
already excellent results obtained with traditional laser vision
correction. This procedure uses wavefront technology, which provides new
diagnostic information previously unattainable.
Wavefront technology was first developed
in 1978 by Josef Bille, PhD, 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
“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." At Wake Forest Baptist Health Eye Center, we use the Allegretto Wavelight laser, which has been shown to reduce higher-order aberrations and improve night vision using “Wavefront Optimized” technology.