Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.
In this article
iLASIK eye surgery or IntraLase LASIK is a blade-free refractive vision correction surgery. It’s considered a LASIK improvement because it minimizes the complications of traditional LASIK surgery.1
A handheld microkeratome blade creates the corneal flap during traditional LASIK surgery. Although research shows that LASIK has relatively high success, corneal complications, including infections, are more common than with iLASIK.2
iLASIK eliminates the use of a sharp blade and instead uses laser energy to create a thin flap. It is ideal for patients with thinner corneas.3
A good iLASIK candidate should meet the following requirements:
Thinking about LASIK? Start a conversation with an experienced Patient Counselor to find out if laser eye surgery is right for you. Learn More
Everyone’s eyes are different. ILASIK is designed to customize your treatment based on your specific visual needs.
Let’s look at what to expect before, during, and after surgery:
Your eye doctor will conduct initial evaluations to determine your fitness for the procedure.
Stop wearing your contacts or eyeglasses several days or a few weeks before surgery to give your eyes time to recover.
Your cornea is affected by the lenses and may need time to adjust back to its standard shape.
This will help your doctor take accurate measurements of your cornea before treatment:
Also, avoid creams, lotions, perfumes, and other types of makeup days before your surgery to avoid the risk of infections.
Your eye doctor may need to evaluate you several times before the surgery to ensure you’re fit for the procedure. They will also discuss the benefits, risks, and expectations during and after the procedure.
On the day of the surgery, ensure you have reliable transportation home as you may not be able to drive after surgery.
Also, have transport arrangements for your first follow-up visit, recommended 24 hours after surgery.
During the iLASIK procedure, you will sit in a reclining chair, and your doctor will clean your eye in preparation for surgery.
The procedure will involve the following steps:
Your doctor will use wavefront technology to create a 3D map of your eyes. With wavefront mapping, your doctor will be able to identify your eye’s specific characteristics with high accuracy.
The wavefront system uses the collected information to customize your vision treatment. The system then controls the excimer laser, a device that uses laser beams to reshape your cornea.4
The laser can recognize and differentiate your right iris from your left. This minimizes the possibility of treating the wrong eye.
After the custom diagnosis and mapping, the thin flap is created using an IntraLase® laser.
The laser can predictably create hinge locations, flap thickness, and diameter.5
The IntraLase laser is an advanced femtosecond laser device that produces rapid pulses of laser light, creating a layer of microscopic bubbles under the cornea.
The area with bubbles enables your surgeon to lift the thin corneal flap and fold it back to allow the next step of the procedure — wavefront guided vision correction.
This is the treatment step and is similar to the LASIK procedure. However, iLASIK is computer-driven and uses more advanced software.
The wavefront system guides the excimer laser to reshape your cornea according to your specific needs.
After your laser treatment, the surgeon will reposition the corneal flap to allow healing.
After iLASIK surgery, you may feel a bit of discomfort in your eye. In some cases, you may experience mild pain.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medications and lubricating eye drops to help relieve any discomfort and promote healing.
Go easy on your eyes after surgery. Avoid activities that strain your eyes, including reading or watching television. Doctors recommend keeping your eyes closed as much as possible.
Doctors highly recommend the first follow-up visit 24 hours after the surgery. This will enable your surgeon to monitor the healing process closely and manage any side effects or complications before they worsen.
Some side effects of iLASIK include:
The main difference between iLASIK and LASIK is the tools used to perform surgery.
LASIK involves a sharp metal blade while iLASIK is blade free.
During traditional LASIK eye surgery, your ophthalmologist will create a corneal flap using a tiny, bladed device called a microkeratome.
They will then fold it back to allow access to the cornea for reshaping. Reshaping is done using an excimer laser.
However, iLASIK is a blade-free procedure that uses a computer-guided laser device known as an IntraLase® laser to create the corneal flap.
This procedure is considered less invasive, more accurate, and safer than traditional LASIK.
How much you see is determined by your lower-order and higher-order aberrations.6 Lower-order aberrations are also known as refractive errors. These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
How well you see is affected by higher-order aberrations. These abnormalities may cause poor night vision, glares, and halos.
However, higher-order abnormalities do not necessarily have as significant of an impact on vision.
Traditional LASIK can only correct lower-order aberrations effectively. Higher-order aberrations are challenging to treat with standard laser eye surgery.
IntraLase LASIK can treat both lower and higher aberrations.
Most iLASIK and LASIK patients achieve a clear vision (20/20 or better). Research on LASIK patients also shows a high level of satisfaction after surgery.7
iLASIK is superior to traditional LASIK because it eliminates the complications caused by the blade. The iLASIK flap creation process is also highly accurate since it’s computer-guided.
iLASIK is considered to have a higher success rate and a low potential for flap complications.
Most iLASIK patients report an improvement in their ability to see during low lighting conditions.
You will need to follow aftercare guidelines and make follow-up visits with your surgeon to ensure successful healing after surgery.
The cost of iLASIK does vary from state to state. The price may also vary based on the facility or the specific surgeon that you visit.
Regardless, the cost of iLASIK is significantly higher than traditional LASIK. In addition, the shortage of eye doctors trained to perform the iLASIK procedure also contributes to the cost.
Expect to pay anything between $2,000 and $5,000 for both eyes.
NVISION Eye Centers offer custom LASIK, affordable pricing plans, and a lifetime guarantee. Learn More
iLASIK is an advanced version of LASIK eye surgery that minimizes its complications.
If you want to correct your vision using blade-free laser technology, iLASIK is a good option for you.
However, seek professional medical advice before committing to any vision treatment. Your doctor will examine you to determine if you qualify for the procedure.
Remember to discuss the following with your eye doctor:
In this article
All Vision Center content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed optometrist to ensure the information is factual and meets industry standards.
We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from recent scientific research, scholarly articles, textbooks, government agencies, optometry websites, and medical journals.