IntraLase® FS Laser Surgery

The IntraLase® FS Laser has revolutionized the first step of LASIK surgery: the creation of the corneal flap. Traditional LASIK surgery requires that the flap be made with a surgical blade known as a microkeratome. The IntraLase® laser presents a computer controlled alternative to the microkeratome, which creates the flap by precisely delivering laser energy to the outer surface of the cornea. This system is safe and accurate, and allows surgeons to avoid some of the possible complications related to use of the microkeratome. Another advantage of IntraLase® includes creating a flap that is customized to each patient's specific vision correction needs. We are happy to use the IntraLase® system at our TLC Laser Eye Centers in the Washington DC Metro area medical centers.

Expanding Technology: The New iFS Laser

Illustration of LASIK procedureAlways abreast of the latest technology, Dr. Holzman is now using the newest laser from IntraLase®, the iFS Laser. This advancement is designed to increase precision, control, speed and safety, essentially improving on what was already a very impressive result. Used to create a strong, micro-thin LASIK corneal flap, the laser shortens surgery and recovery time, increases patient comfort, and yields an enhanced outcome.

How IntraLase® Works

For the first step of your IntraLASIK procedure, the surgeon uses IntraLase® computer software to guide the IntraLase® laser beam and create a precise cut of the cornea. The IntraLase® beam pulses a pattern of tiny (3-micron-diameter) overlapping spots, leaving a small section of tissue at one edge of the corneal flap uncut. Much like traditional LASIK, the uncut edge forms a hinge that allows the surgeon to fold back the corneal flap. An excimer laser is then used to reshape the corneal bed.

Frequently Asked Questions About IntraLase®

Why IntraLase®?

Traditional LASIK is a very good procedure. In fact, TLC Laser Eye Centers has done thousands of surgeries for our patients in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC with the traditional LASIK eye surgery. While the risk of complication is very minimal, all surgery carries some degree of risk. However, an advanced laser technology is available that significantly reduces the risk of complications. It is known as IntraLase®.

The IntraLase® laser is uniquely safe, uniquely precise, and offers patients predictably better results. The advanced IntraLase® technology has given many patients more confidence when considering laser vision correction. Dr. Holzman prescribes the IntraLase® FS laser for all of his patients because it provides micron level accuracy and significantly reduces the possibility of risk and unpredictable outcomes.

How is IntraLase® different from Traditional LASIK?

IntraLase machineLASIK surgery is actually a 2-step process. First, a flap of corneal tissue must be created and then folded back. The cornea is the transparent dome-like structure that covers the iris and pupil of your eye. By creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon is able to perform the laser vision correction treatment on the inner layer of the cornea, which practically eliminates any patient discomfort and allows for a rapid visual recovery.

Traditionally, the surgeon created the corneal flap with a hand-held mechanical device, which utilizes a metal surgical blade. This method has worked well over the years; however, the performance of these devices can be unpredictable. And although LASIK complications are rare, this mechanical device is frequently the source for many of the reported complications.

With the IntraLase® laser, Doctor Andrew Holzman uses the precision of a laser to create the corneal flap. The accuracy of the laser (100 times more accurate than a blade) is unparalleled by any other technology in vision correction surgery. This advanced technology allows the surgeon more control during the procedure, and even allows customization of the corneal flap for every individual patient. Because of its consistent accuracy, IntraLase® candidates also include those patients who were not considered suitable for laser vision correction due to thin corneas.

Is this the same as the customized procedure I have heard so much about?

It's the critical first step of the customized procedure. There has never been a combination of technologies that have allowed for this type of personalized vision correction. The most exciting part is that while offering the ability to get the best results, we are doing it all with unprecedented safety and precision.

Dr. Holzman knows that every patient's eyes are different and therefore need to be evaluated independently and uniquely treated. We now have fully customized all steps of the laser vision correction procedure: custom diagnosis (before the procedure), custom flap (to start the procedure), and custom treatment (to complete the procedure).

Is IntraLase® safer?

Most doctors acknowledge that the main safety issues in laser vision are related to the use of the mechanical device used to create the corneal flap. Multiple studies that compare the incidence of complications when using the IntraLase® laser versus the microkeratome device have shown a significant decrease in the events that adversely impact safety.

The IntraLase® laser provides a unique level of safety because of its micron level precision. Clinical studies establishing the precision and accuracy of the IntraLase® FS laser have led researchers to proclaim IntraLase® technology as 100 times more accurate in creating the flap (the first step of the LASIK procedure) than the traditional approach with a surgical blade. The statement is founded upon comparative studies that report the likelihood of inaccuracy with the mechanical device as compared to that of the IntraLase® FS laser.

This precision was also documented in studies conducted for the FDA clearance of the laser, where the accuracy of flap thickness was demonstrated at +/- 10 microns. Precise flap thickness is critical to a successful LASIK outcome, and this degree of accuracy is unprecedented in flap creation technology to date.

Finally, greater flap stability was also demonstrated with the IntraLase® laser in studies for the laser's FDA submission. The assurance that the flap will be securely re-positioned without incident provides added peace of mind for many patients.

Is traditional LASIK unsafe?

No, but IntraLase® reduces the risk of complications reported with traditional LASIK, and we feel that is very important for our patients. The advanced IntraLase® technology has given many patients more confidence when considering laser vision correction. Dr. Holzman will prescribe the IntraLase® FS laser for all of his patients because it provides greater precision and may significantly reduce the possibility of risk.  He will treat you as if you are a family member, and will not sacrifice on technology in order to save you a few dollars.   Dr Holzman believes strongly that you should take advantage of all the greatest advances in technology that have occurred over the last decade. 

The other provider told me their technology is used more often. Who do I believe?

We believe in providing the best technology to our patients and are generally the first to do so. Leading surgeons nationwide have adopted the IntraLase® laser, and several million eyes have been treated with this advanced technology. IntraLase® has become the standard of care in these practices.

How would you compare the visual outcomes using IntraLase® with those of traditional LASIK?

IntraLase® is rapidly becoming known as the key ingredient to optimizing results in laser vision correction surgery. Comparative clinical studies confirm that patients see better following laser vision correction with IntraLase® than with previous methods.

Dr. Holzman can now offer a new level of predictability to each patient in all parts of the procedure: custom diagnosis (before the procedure), custom flap (to start the procedure), and custom treatment (to complete the procedure). We believe that IntraLase® is the essential ingredient of this strategy to obtain your best vision while maintaining the highest standards for safety and patient care.

I have seen several advertisements for "All-Laser LASIK" and "I-LASIK". Is this IntraLase®?

Be sure to ask for IntraLase® by name. Only the IntraLase® FS laser can provide the computer controlled, laser precision required for maximum predictability. Your doctor can explain the difference between other procedures that may be advertised as "all laser", such as LASEK or PRK, which are surface ablations that do not require the creation of a corneal flap. These procedures generally require longer healing time and frequently involve more discomfort.  Having said that, some providers in the area have used the term I- LASIK in advertisements.  I-LASIK is simply the combination of using Intralase to create the flap and then using the VISX S4 CustomVUE for correction of the vision in the second step.  Dr Holzman was the first doctor in the Washington, DC Metro area to use that combination of technologies, so one can say that he was the first to employ I-LASIK for his patients.  Dr Holzman is a technology leader. Both he and TLC Laser Eye Centers have worked together to bring in the very best technologies to improve your eyesight

Is IntraLase® more expensive?

LASIK surgery may be elective but good vision is not. We understand how valuable your sight is to you, and we keep our sights set on finding the most advanced technology and consistently striving to provide only the best for our patients. We do not let cost dictate our standard of care.

Advanced technologies are usually more expensive for the surgeon to employ in a practice. Dr. Holzman continually evaluates all advances in technology and has found that the IntraLase® computer-guided laser for flap creation is the most sophisticated and accurate system available today.

IntraLase® technology provides greater precision, safety, and predictability. We believe that laser vision correction enriched with IntraLase® is one of the most important advances in technology today. Because of its unique safety profile, we have invested in this technology in order to maintain our commitment to excellence in patient care.

A very close friend had traditional LASIK surgery with TLC Laser Eye Centers, and today enjoys 20/20 vision. Why should I pay more for IntraLase®?

Traditional LASIK is a very good procedure, and we have performed thousands of cases with very impressive results. However, the ability to replace the mechanical first step of the procedure with the computer precision of a laser is consistent with many other advances in medicine today.

One of the many reasons Dr. Holzman chose the IntraLase® laser is to avoid potential inaccuracies in the procedure. The laser provides greater control, and allows us to preserve corneal tissue.

How is TLC Laser Eye Centers able to offer IntraLase® when others in the area do not?

The IntraLase® FS laser has been cleared by the FDA and became commercially available in 2001. The IntraLase® FS laser is the only system that provides computer controlled precision and well over a million eyes had been treated. Dr. Andrew Holzman and TLC Laser Eye Centers are among an elite group of key opinion leaders in ophthalmology who continually evaluated advanced technologies and adopt them into their practices as soon as they became available. To meet our patients' needs, we employ IntraLaser® and other systems at our McLean, Rockville and Charlottesville eye care centers, serving greater Virginia, Maryland and the Washington DC area.

At TLC Laser Eye Centers our commitment is to providing exceptional patient care. We believe that by replacing the surgical blade with a more advanced, less invasive technology, we are able to provide a higher standard of care for our patients. To learn more, please visit

Navy Approves Lasik for Sailors and Marines

After years of studies Navy doctors have approved wavefront guided Lasik with IntraLase for all Navy and Marine personnel. 

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Dr. Holzman is the best - very honest, very professional yet very friendly and personable. Ben E.

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