Richard A. Levinson, M.D. > WaveLight EX500 Allegretto and VISX Star S4 CustomVue Excimer Lasers. Which is “better”?

WaveLight EX500 Allegretto and VISX Star S4 CustomVue Excimer Lasers. Which is “better”?

Colorado Custom LASIK and PRK, Laser Vision Correction Eye Surgery, with  the WaveLight EX500 and VISX Star S4 CustomVue Wavefront LASIK Technology in the Denver & Boulder Metro Area

Laser Vision Correction is performed with an Excimer Laser. The  energy from the Excimer Laser reshapes your cornea, effectively shaping your glasses prescription permanently on the surface of your cornea. I want to explain the similarities and differences between the two primary Excimer Lasers systems that are available to you, the WaveLight EX500 Allegretto and the VISX Star S4 CustomVue.  I have extensive experience with both of these Excimer Laser. I used the VISX  Laser for over 10 years, until 2015, with excellent outcomes, but started occasionally using  the WaveLight Laser in 2014, and exclusively using the WaveLight since 2015. In my experience, results are more predictable and patients note less night glare and halos with the WaveLight than the VISX Excimer Laser.

The WaveLight and VISX Excimer Lasers are both state-of-the-art, excellent pieces of equipment, but like any technology, they each have advantages and limitations. Both Lasers use the same argon-fluoride Excimer Laser technology to reshape the cornea of your eye. The primary difference between the two Excimer Lasers is that the VISX CustomVue is theoretically more precise in mathematically modelling and mapping the shape of the cornea but, more significantly, the WaveLight EX500 Excimer Laser has a much shorter treatment time. The WaveLight EX500 reshapes the cornea approximately 8 times faster than the VISX Star S4.  The longer the treatment time, the more susceptible the cornea is to dehydrating. Dehydration significantly effects the precision of the Excimer Laser treatment, especially with the VISX Star S4 because of its slower firing rate. The VISX CustomVue Wavefront Analyzer identifies “higher-order aberrations” (surface irregularities) unique to your specific eye. However, most of these higher-order aberrations are of the 1-2 micron size range – about the size of a small virus particle. Realistically, irregularities of this size are probably too small to be treated accurately by any present-day Excimer technology. Both Excimer Lasers use wavefront technology, but apply the technology differently. The VISX is Wavefront-Guided and the WaveLight is Wavefront-Optimized. The VISX Wavefront-Guided technology is more precise than the WaveLight Wavefront-Optimized technology in mathematically modeling and treating your eye in LASIK and PRK but is probably not any more accurate because of  the limitations of the ability of the Excimer Laser to actually treat these micron-size irregularities. Basically, in my experience, both Laser Systems are excellent but the advantage of the 8-times-faster treatment with the WaveLight is more clinically important than the theoretically more precise mathematical modelling and astigmatism mapping of the VISX Star S4.

Please call my vision correction office in Denver, Colorado if you have further questions or to arrange a complimentary (free) consultation to see if you are a candidate for LASIK or PRK.

Phone (303)393-0347
Fax (303)393-1026

Laser Vision Correction Surgeon Denver Boulder Colorado
Rose Medical Plaza, 4545 East Ninth Avenue, #270, Denver, CO 80220