During your consultation, you may be offered a newer diagnostic procedure, known as wavefront analysis. Wavefront technology was first developed for high-powered telescopes, to sharpen the image of distant stars that were distorted by the earth’s atmosphere.
More recently, the technology has been applied to the correction of human vision. In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of wavefront-guided LASIK surgery, also known as Custom LASIK. This technology allows Dr. Kornmehl to custom sculpt the cornea, correcting vision problems more accurately and with fewer side effects.
Wavefront: A Better Diagnostic Tool
The advantage to wavefront-guided LASIK is that it does a much better job of diagnosing the aberrations in your eyes. Traditional LASIK measurements are based on only one point in the eye and correct lower-order aberrations. However, wavefront analysis measures 200 different points in the eye, providing a much better map of the eye’s imperfections, including higher-order aberrations (higher-order aberrations include problems with visual crispness, clarity, and sensitivity contrast). With the data from the wavefront analysis, the ophthalmologist can now perform LASIK surgery that detects, measures, and corrects both low-order and higher-order aberrations.
How Does Wavefront Analysis Work?
When your surgeon assesses your eye’s imperfections with wavefront technology, he or she will probably use the most common wavefront technique- the Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensing method. During this process, your surgeon will shine a low-powered laser into your eye and will ask you to focus on the light. As the light is reflected out of your eye, an aberrometer, a sensing device with many small lenses, will precisely measure your eye’s unique cluster of imperfections.
These data are translated into a constellation of “spots”, and a special camera will take a picture of them. The data are then compared with the way light travels through eyes that have perfect vision. The difference between these two measurements is used to create a three-dimensional wavefront map.
Once this map, or blueprint, of the eye is produced, it is converted into a mathematical formula and fed into a computer. Later, this information is used to guide the laser beam as it reshapes your cornea during the LASIK or PRK surgery. This allows Dr. Kornmehl to customize your laser treatment according to the precise visual imperfections unique to your eye.