Believe it or not, about a 1/3rd of North American LASIK centres, and especially discount LASIK centres, still use a metal blade instead of a laser to create the LASIK flap, despite the fact that blade-free Femtosecond laser technology has been shown to be much safer, more predictable, and can achieve superior outcomes.
Dr. Bense is the only centre in Atlantic Canada that has an iFS Femtosecond laser (for the past several years). We have totally abandoned the use of outdated steel blades in all our LASIK surgeries several years ago despite the fact that Dr. Bense introduced bladed LASIK to Eastern Canada over a decade ago.
So, why would any laser centre today still offer this outdated blade technology that has been shown not to be as safe as blade-free technology? The answer should be obvious: cost. The price of a new Femtosecond laser exceeds $400,000, which does not include an annual maintenance fee of over $60,000. A new microkeratome that carries a steel blade used in discount LASIK surgery, costs less than $40,000, and there are no annual maintenance fees. A steel blade is around $50 and is used for cutting the flap in both eyes. This explains the magic of using cheaper technology that allows for significant savings to a laser centre, which offers this outdated technology with a microkeratome.
At Bense Vision, we acquired the first very latest, 5th generation blade-free IFS laser in Eastern Canada, which has a much faster (2.5X) speed of speed of 150 KHz. In addition, the new iFS technology can create a tailored flap of almost any configuration, which leads to a more stable flap position.
Our new iFS laser, is likewise used in our advanced KAMRA Corneal Insert procedure, which can replace reading glasses as well as in the FSAK procedure that gets rid of astigmatism in many situations.
Despite using cheaper technology, we have discovered that bladed LASIK procedures offered at some discount LASIK centres are priced but an average of only $100 – $200 cheaper than our safer and more advanced iFS blade-free iLASIK procedure.
So, are those ‘low’ advertised prices for real? Go find out for yourself.