Boothe Eyecare Explains Femtosecond Lenticule Extraction (FLex)
Femtosecond Lenticule Extraction (FLex) is a promising new technique for correcting severe myopia, using a femtosecond laser for the entire procedure. The advanced femtosecond laser is extremely accurate and is capable of making very small, precise incisions. The procedure is similar to conventional Lasik procedures in that it involves creating a corneal flap that is folded back. But a distinguishing factor is that FLex uses a single femtosecond laser for the entire procedure, unlike Lasik, which uses two lasers.
In traditional Lasik procedures, a corneal flap is first created using a femtosecond laser. A second excimer laser is then used to perform tissue ablation within the cornea, to reshape the cornea and refocus light on the retina. With FLex procedures, however, the femtosecond laser corrects refractive error in a single step. The laser cuts a lens-shaped piece of the cornea, known as a refractive lenticule. Simultaneously, the laser creates a corneal flap that is folded back to expose tissues beneath. The lenticule is then physically removed from the corneal bed in the eye.
FLex offers patients several advantages over Lasik. Because it involves complete extraction of tissue rather than tissue ablation, FLex offers better protection of the cornea’s structural integrity, resulting in greater biomechanical stability following the procedure. The procedure in many cases is also reversible and studies also show that it causes fewer aberrations and sharper vision than Lasik procedures.
Many surgeons are also moving toward the FLex procedure, seeing the important advantages it carries. The all-in-one FLex procedure requires only one laser system, rather than two, which saves overall costs of maintenance, reduces floor space needed in the operating room and shortens the duration of the procedure for the patient.
Another variation of the FLex procedure is Small-Incision Femtosecond Lenticule Extraction (SMILE), which requires no corneal flap, further minimizing risks of infection or dislocation if the eye is ever exposed to trauma. SMILE is not yet approved for use in the United States but was approved by the European Union in 2008.
Ask your eye surgeon about whether you are a good candidate for FLex laser surgery. The procedure is ideal for patients with severe myopia of up to 1,000 degrees. Dr. William Boothe, founder of the Boothe Eye Care and Laser Center, is one of the most experienced laser eye surgeons in the country, having successfully treated nearly 200,000 patients. Set up a consultation with Dr. Boothe to determine whether you should consider the FLex surgery.