Dr. Robert McCulloch was the first Lasik surgeon in the Phoenix, Arizona area to perform Intralase-Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK), on April 13, 2011. Intralase-Enabled Keratoplasty is a bladeless, all-laser procedure for corneal transplants. The procedure is usually performed on individuals suffering from chronic corneal damage or disease.
Corneal transplants offer hope for thousands of people in the Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, and Goodyear areas who suffer from partial or complete loss of vision. Eye banks provide donations of corneas which are used to replace the patient’s damaged cornea and restore his/her vision. One part of the procedure, the creation of corneal incisions, can now be done using the advanced IntraLase Femtosecond Laser. “This is a great achievement in the field of corneal transplants, perhaps the most important technological advancement in the last 50 years”, announced Dr. McCulloch after he completed the first surgery using this technology. It is the first laser used in the U.S. to create corneal incisions as part of the corneal transplantation process. Dr. McCulloch is an expert Lasik surgeon in Arizona who has been using this ultra-fast, safe Intralase laser ro create precise corneal incisions. The accurate shape of each incision enables the Lasik surgeon to transplant the tissues perfectly into the patient’s eyes.
Replacing Traditional Surgical blade with Laser
Traditional corneal transplants were performed using a handheld blade known as trephine, a surgical instrument that has straight and vertical edges and was used to create a circular incision on the cornea. After making the incision using this traditional blade, a simple and plug-shaped corneal tissue graft is created. In this treatment, the corneal graft required more sutures than in the new Intralase assisted procedures and these sutures used to remain within the eyes for one or more years. Patients often did not obtain full recovery of their vision for at least one year after the procedure due to increased astigmatism of the eyes.
It All Changed Overnight
In IntraLase-Enabled Keratoplasty, Dr. McCulloch will program the IntraLase Femtosecond Laser to make percise, interlocking corneal incisions on the transplanting tissue as well as on the diseased cornea of the patient. After creating the corneal incisions using a Lasik procedure, the infrared light ray of the laser focuses accurately on the cornea and microscopic bubbles are formed. Complex incisions which were impossible to make wuth a trephine can now be made with the help of the Intralase technology. A corneal graft that is created this way provides faster recovery and it is considered more stable due to the interlocking design of the corneal incisions. Some of the benefits IntraLase-Enabled Keratoplasty offers are fewer sutures, which can be removed faster than in the traditional method, faster recovery of patients’ vision and significantly lower risk of graft displacement.