If you’re interested in laser eye surgery, you’ve probably come across many different laser procedure terms as you research options. Sorting through the information and understanding the details of each procedure can be confusing. LASIK is the most common and familiar of all laser procedures available. But did you know there are different kinds of LASIK? To learn if All-laser LASIK is the right procedure for you, read on!
All-Laser LASIK: What is It?
But aren’t all LASIK procedures performed with a laser? Yes… and No. For example, there two steps to any LASIK procedure. First, an outer protective cover called a flap, is created on the cornea (the clear, outermost covering of the eye). Traditionally, a small microkeratome (a bladed instrument), is used to create the corneal flap. In step two of LASIK, the flap is lifted so an Excimer laser can be used to reshape the cornea. The Excimer laser is an ultraviolet laser in the non-visible light spectrum. By reshaping the cornea, an excimer laser can correct vision issues related to near-sightedness, far-sightedness and/or astigmatism.
With all-laser LASIK, a Femtosecond laser is used to create the outer protective cover (flap) during the first step of the LASIK procedure instead of using a microkeratome (blade). Femtosecond lasers are infrared laser in the non-visible light spectrum and use high-energy, cool temperatures and ultra-fast speeds to create the LASIK flap – thus, replacing the need for a surgical blade in the first step of the LASIK procedure. After the creation of the Femtosecond flap, an Excimer Laser is also used to gently reshape the cornea to accomplish the vision correction, second step of the LASIK procedure.
All-Laser LASIK, Bladeless LASIK, and Other Similar Terms:
When researching LASIK, you will find many different terms or brands are used to describe the same procedure. For example, All-Laser LASIK and Bladeless LASIK refer to the same type of LASIK procedure where no microkeratome (blade) is involved. Other names for the All-Laser LASIK procedure include brands such as: IntraLase, iLASIK® or IntraLASE.® These are not different types of procedures; rather, these terms are brands of bladeless LASIK using a Femtosecond laser to create the flap and an Excimer laser to correct vision. IntraLase was the first Femtosecond laser approved by the FDA in 2001, thus making it possible for LASIK surgeons to begin performing All-Laser LASIK.[i]
Benefits of All-Laser LASIK:
There are some advantages to choosing a bladeless LASIK procedure. With computer-guided control, Femtosecond lasers allow surgeons to better customize the creation of the corneal flap for individual patients. The enhanced accuracy of the surgical process makes it possible to create flaps with even thickness and structure. In doing so, there is less risk of a flap problem. For example, a non-uniform flap contour may induce new astigmatism after LASIK.
The precision of a Femtosecond laser also allows surgeons to refine the corneal flap with optimal architecture and flap edge contour. A beveled edge enables the Femtosecond flap to fit more securely in its original position at the end of the LASIK procedure. A more secure flap edge means faster healing for patients and less risk of a flap problem like displacement.[ii]
Many patients are naturally nervous about the idea of a blade being used on their eye during the LASIK procedure. If this is so, All-Laser LASIK can provide peace of mind for patients choosing to proceed with LASIK.
Cost of All-Laser LASIK:
In general, the cost of any LASIK procedure will vary depending on the provider you choose and the area where you live. All-laser LASIK will typically cost 10%-15% more than a traditional, microkeratome (bladed) LASIK procedure.[iii]
Are You a Candidate for All-Laser LASIK?
The best way to find out if you are a candidate for All-Laser (bladeless) LASIK is to see your primary eye doctor for an examination. Then, if your eyes look health, schedule a consultation with an All-Laser LASIK specialist. It’s that simple!
[i] Johnson & Johnson Vision. (2016). History of refractive surgery. Retrieved from
[ii] Kim, J.Y., et al. (2006). A femtosecond laser creates a stronger flap than a mechanical microkeratome. Retrieved
[iii] Thompson, V. (2019). Bladeless LASIK: Femtosecond laser eases LASIK fears. Retrieved from