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Relex v/s Bladeless lasik

Relex v/s Bladeless lasik

When a human first journeyed into outer space, people were awestruck.
Soon, this feat was one-upped by man landing on the moon, what was earlier unimaginable.
And then, this was followed by man sending a robot onto another planet, Marss!!

Something similar happened with eye surgeries…

Initially, the microkeratome surgery was introduced in the 1950s in which a flap could be cut the thickness of which was 83 – 200 micrometers. (A micrometer is a thousandth of a millimeter!) Later, in the 1980s, the shape of the cornea was altered using something called lasers, which was a fascinating discovery in itself. If this were any less remarkable, femtosecond lasers were used for eye surgeries which made surgeries bladeless. One femtosecond (the unit used to measure the duration of each pulse) is one millionth of one billionth of a second!

If you thought that was astounding, the last few years saw the introduction of a procedure that was even more superior to femtolasik….

ReLEx (Refractive Lenticule Extraction) a procedure that is used with the VisuMax femtosecond Laser is a big advancement in the field of minimally invasive laser vision correction surgery.

In the Femto Lasik technique,

The femtosecond laser first creates a flap. The patient is then required to relocate to the excimer laser. The flap is manually opened and folded back. The excimer laser then ablates (converts into gas) the corneal tissue and the upper corneal tissue is reapplied.

In the ReLEx procedure,

The lenticule and incision are created in the same step. The refractive lenticule is peeled off the corneal surface in ReLEx. The changed form of the cornea corrects the refractive error. Thus, apart from the safety that the Bladeless LASIK provides, ReLEx has the added advantage of using tissue removal rather than tissue ablation. This means eliminating an entire surgical step.

Thus ReLEx differs in two major aspects:

• No flaps
• No tissue ablation

Advantages of ReLEx ( SMILE)over FemtoLASIK


• As compared to the 20 mm cut that was required to be made earlier, here a small incision of 4 mm is sufficient.
• As the upper corneal layers remain practically untouched, the stability of the cornea is largely unaffected.
• Being less invasive, there are lesser nerves which get transected on the corneal surface. Thus, there is reduced severity of dry eye syndrome which may be seen after the  operation.
• With no flap displacement even after trauma, this is a better option for those involved in close- contact sports or jobs with chances of injuries.
• An 80% lesser cut means that the chances of complications like infections, ingrowth of the epithelium, etc. are drastically reduced.


• Each person’s cornea is different. This technology removes the influence of individual cornea characteristics on the incision and makes the surgery more predictable. This is especially useful for people with higher refraction values.



Single- step:

• Since the incision and the flap creation are performed in the same step, no change to excimer laser as in LASIK and Femto-LASIK is needed.
• The patient does not need to be relocated since the entire correction is undertaken using a single system- the VisuMax.
• No change of Equipment during treatment.


Minimally Invasive:

• This is the most minimally invasive technique of all its predecessors. Maximum protection of healthy tissue is ensured thereby enabling faster healing of the cornea. Unlike other techniques where suction is created on the entire conjunctiva, here, suction applied during surgery is restricted to the cornea. This ensures that side effects seen commonly with other techniques like sub-conjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva) is significantly lesser.
• The foreign body sensation experienced by patients at the time of corneal healing after the operation is reduced to 2-3 hours as compared to 4-5 hours in LASIK and 2-3 days in PRK.
• It does not produce the smell of burnt tissue as seen with an excimer laser and there is no blackout of vision during the procedure as there is no occlusion of the central artery.

As Neil Armstrong spoke of the moon landing being ‘a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind’, ReLEx, a small step for laser surgeries and a giant leap for Minimally Invasive Procedures, is available at the Advanced Eye Hospital And Institute.