Wavefront LASIK surgery in a U.S. clinic can cost up to $5500 for each eye, depending on the location and the experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. The average cost for personalized LASIK at Angeles Health Mexico is $3,500 for both eyes, though cost may change according to individual patient characteristics.
While the invention of the Excimer laser made possible significant advances in the accuracy and ease of vision correction surgery based on the principles of radial keratotomy, recent developments in technology used to map the eye’s topography have taken standard LASIK surgery to new heights with a procedure known as Wavefront-guided LASIK.
Also known as Wavefront LASIK or Custom LASIK, the procedure uses state-of-the-art laser mapping technology to measure the eye from front to back to create a three-dimensional (3-D) image, or Wavefront map, which a surgeon uses to guide the Excimer laser in customizing treatment for any individual’s unique visual system. Standard LASIK has been effective in treating lower-order aberrations (refractive errors) that result in nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, but not until the development of Wavefront cornea mapping technology did it become possible to treat higher-order aberrations responsible for such problems as decreased contrast sensitivity or night vision, glare, shadows and halos.
While higher-order aberrations do not affect vision in all cases, many LASIK patients in recent years have reported improvements in visual acuity measured in terms of contrast sensitivity and fine vision after undergoing Wavefront-guided LASIK procedures. Because Wavefront LASIK surgery or Custom LASIK has only been available in the US since 2001, there is little rigorously produced clinical data on the effectiveness or the long-term results of the procedure. However, several surveys have indicated as much as 94% of Custom LASIK patients report not only satisfaction with the results of the procedure, but also claim to be able to see as well as or better than they did with their corrective prescriptions before surgery. On the LASIK team Angeles Health has Dr. Gabriel Carpio, who has a sub-specialty in Cornea and Refractive Surgery from the Institute of Ambulatory Surgery, as well as many other medical staff experienced in Wavefront LASIK surgery.
What to expect from Wavefront LASIK Surgery?
Wavefront is used in two separate ophthalmic events. The first is a Wavefront evaluation and diagnosis of the patient’s existing corneal aberrations. The second uses what is learned from the diagnosis to create a Wavefront-guided ablation scheme for the actual LASIK surgery itself.
During a Wavefront diagnosis, light is sent into the eye in a specific pattern, and then measured after it has passed through the visual system. The difference between what goes in and what is measured is considered an aberration. It may help to visualize a square grid going in and a wavy grid coming out: the waves represent aberrations.
A standard eye exam evaluates refraction and low order aberrations (LOA). These are commonly called sphere (myopia, nearsighted, shortsighted or hyperopia, farsighted, longsighted) and cylinder (astigmatism) aberrations. Only a Wavefront diagnosis can measure high order aberrations (HOA), which exist beyond simple sphere and cylinder errors.
Wavefront technology can diagnose and measure aberrations no other system can even see. It is important to understand that without a Wavefront diagnosis, it is impossible for a doctor to accurately determine if Wavefront-guided ablation is necessary for a good LASIK outcome. Similarly, without a Wavefront diagnosis it is impossible for a doctor to accurately determine if a Wavefront ablation is not necessary. In other words, virtually every person considering LASIK should have a Wavefront diagnostic evaluation.
In the case of Wavefront-guided LASIK, the surgical procedure is like standard LASIK, in which a small flap is opened on the cornea and the surgeon uses the Excimer laser — in this case programmed with the data from the detailed Wavefront diagnosis — to ablate precise amounts of the cornea to correct for the patient’s unique aberrations.
The entire procedure is painless, taking no more than 5 — 15 minutes, after which the corneal flap is replaced and the patient returns to normal activity in almost all cases within a day.
Are you an ideal candidate for Wavefront LASIK Surgery?
Patient selection is important to achieve the benefits of Wavefront LASIK. The surgery is not appropriate for patients who have refractive instability. This includes patients who:
- Required a change in their contact lens or glasses prescription in the past year.
- Are in their early 20s or younger.
- Have fluctuating hormones due to diseases such as diabetes.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding. Are taking medications that may cause fluctuations in vision.
- Are more likely to have refractive instability. Currently, no lasers are approved for LASIK on persons under the age of 18.
In addition, the safety and effectiveness of refractive procedures has not been determined in patients with some diseases. Patients should discuss with their doctor if they have a history of any of the following:
- Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster (shingles) involving the eye area.
- Glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular hypertension.
- Eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye)
- Eye injuries or previous eye surgeries.
- Blepharitis — Inflammation of the eyelids with crusting of the eyelashes, that may increase the risk of infection or inflammation of the cornea after LASIK.
Benefits and Risks of Wavefront Lasik Surgery?
Only a Wavefront diagnostic examination can detect and map the higher-order corneal aberrations that impact contrast sensitivity and fine visual acuity. As a result, patients undergoing Wavefront LASIK surgery have reported improvements to their vision that include better night vision as well as reduced sensitivity to glare, shadows and halos. Many ophthalmologists and LASIK patients believe Wavefront LASIK gives patients the best chance of obtaining perfect 20/20 uncorrected vision after a successful procedure, although peer-reviewed clinical data does not exist at present to support such claims.
Beyond the ability to address high-order corneal aberrations, Wavefront LASIK can also correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, helping to free patients from reliance on glasses and contact lenses for driving, reading and engaging in recreational activities from which they may have previously shied away. Many Wavefront LASIK patients report an increase in self-esteem and improved quality of life after successful surgery.
As with any surgery, even one as quick and painless as Wavefront LASIK, there are certain risks a patient should discuss thoroughly with their doctor prior to committing to the procedure.
The following list describes vision issues that can arise with LASIK, and individual patients may be at risk for other complications depending on their unique situation.
- Under correction and Overcorrection
- Induced Astigmatism
- Dry Eyes Haze
- Corneal Abrasion
- Night Glare and Halos
- Loss of Best Corrected Vision
- Central Islands
- Corneal Flap Risks
- Epithelial Ingrowth
- Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK)
- Infection or Severe Inflammation
Why Choose Angeles Hospital for your Wavefront/Custom Lasik Surgery?
The Wavefront LASIK Surgery Package at Angeles Hospital Tijuana includes:
- Patient needs to stay at least 1-2 days for proper follow up
- All testing and exams prior to surgery
- All required medical costs: surgeon, anesthesia, equipment, nursing care
- A reliable Case Management team to guide your pre- and post-surgery experience
- Pre-surgery consultation if necessary
- Airport transfer on arrival and departure