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FDA Approves Space-Age Technology For Use With LASIK Surgery

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio system for use in LASIK procedures, welcome news for thousands of patients who were not previously candidates for the vision correcting procedure.

The state-of-the-art diagnostic tool uses high-definition scanning technology to detect imperfections in the eye that result in poor vision. A single three-second scan captures five different optical measurements to produce a 3-D image of the eye, a “blueprint” that maps imperfections and creates a treatment plan. This allows surgeons to provide computer-driven LASIK treatments that are completely customized and unique to each patient.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this and it’s very exciting,” says Sandy T. Feldman, MD, a top-rated eye surgeon and LASIK specialist based in San Diego. “This is the next generation of wavefront sensing technology, a new standard for laser vision correction, and it represents a new direction for diagnostic devices in the world of refractive surgery.”

Developed by Abbott Medical Optics, the iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio system uses the same technology Abbott scientists developed to measure the mirrors in NASA’s $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope, which will transmit high-resolution images of deep space back to Earth after it launches in 2018.

The iDesign wavefront sensing technology provides a broader range of vision correction, and its ability to map the surface of irregular corneas greatly expands the number of patients that may qualify for LASIK, including:

  • Patients aged 18 years and older
  • Patients with astigmatism (up to 5D)
  • Patients with a wide range of pupil sizes (from 4 to 9.5 mm)
  • Patients requiring a significant degree of vision correction  (up to -11D)

“This latest iDesign system is a more advanced version of its predecessor, the iDesign Dx,” explains Dr. Feldman, who has used the technology with great success since 2013. “It precisely measures not only the optical system but individual components of the eye, such as the topography and curvature of the cornea and the diameter of the pupils in different lighting conditions. This is invaluable information for any surgeon performing LASIK.”

The iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio system is currently used in Europe and a number of other countries around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, and New Zealand. The newly FDA-approved device will be available in the U.S. in June 2015.

“It’s every doctor’s dream to have access to the same cutting-edge technology that NASA and the U.S. military uses for its most elite personnel, including fighter pilots and astronauts,” says Dr. Feldman. “I always strive to give my patients the best diagnosis, treatment, and outcome possible, and the iDesign technology enables me to do just that.”

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