IntraLase is a 100% bladeless surgical procedure designed for creating a corneal flap in a patient's eye. There will be a computer guided laser that will build a layer of microscopic bubbles in the surface of the cornea. This surgery is a preparation for the LASIK procedure wherein an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. The IntraLase recovery time of most patients is usually as early as six months. The average thickness of a cornea is about 540 microns. Laser eye surgeons prefer to create thinner flaps as it heals a lot faster than thicker ones. Nowadays, there are new types of IntraLase lasers that can create flaps as thin as 100 to 130 microns. The more corneal tissue left untouched, the faster the recovery will be. Thinner flaps could also give way to enhancements in the future. Lastly, thinner flaps minimise the risk of damage to the corneal nerves.
When the cornea is reshaped properly, it results in the correction of a patient's vision. After reshaping the cornea, the surgeon will then place the corneal flap back into place. Stitching is no longer needed since the cornea has glycosaminoglycans. It is a gluey substance secreted by the corneal cells that acts as a self adhesive. Patients are then made to rest after the surgery and are given instructions on how to apply the eye drops as well as the frequency. After the surgery, patients can sometimes expect to have teary eyes, a runny nose, eye redness, minor inflammation, hypersensitivity to strong lights, blurry vision and a feeling of having dry eyes. This is a result of the IntraLase procedure and will eventually go away usually in two days to a week.
An appointment with the clinic on the next day after the laser eye surgery is often required so that the doctor can monitor the patient's condition. That’s why patients who have undergone this type of surgery should stick to the appointments set for future checkups. This way, their doctors can check for any abnormalities, inflammations or whatever problem that may arise as a result of the IntraLase procedure. There are also some things that need to be done after the surgery. In order to speed up the IntraLase recovery time, it is advisable for patients to protect their eyes from glaring light or sunlight by using sunglasses. Patients should also avoid rubbing their eyes to make sure that the flap will stay in place. Since the eyes are sensitive after the surgery, patients should attempt to have more sleep in the following few days of the operation. Patients are also provided eye shields right after the procedure, so it is advisable for patients to wear them for three to four days. The eyes, aside from being sensitive to glaring lights, are also sensitive to water. It is best for patients to avoid any water activities for at least six weeks to ensure their eyes' safety and avoid further inflammation or complications. Hot tubs, Jacuzzis and swimming pools should be avoided until the patient recovers.
Most patients’ eyesight will recover in six months time but it differs from one patient to another. Although the recovery of the corneal flap could take up to two years for some patients. Though it can take up to two years for the flap to heal, please note that it will not affect the patient's vision. Regular visits to the doctor will ensure a faster recovery. Within the 12 month period from the time the surgery was done, the doctor will check the patient's current status and could give an enhancement procedure in case the patient's vision regresses. The laser eye surgeon will also check the patient's corneal flap to see if there is any improvement.
With all these considered, patients could see the improvement of vision in as early as two days. The IntraLase recovery time will be as early as six months for the correction of their vision. The corneal flap will be secured in as early as two weeks and heals fast as long as the patient is strictly following the surgeon’s advice in securing their eyes.