What is Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a term widely used to define procedures that correct refractive errors in the eye (which lead to impaired vision), with the help of a highly focused light. It is also known as laser vision correction, and involves using a laser to alter the shape of the cornea, changing the shape of the surface of the eye.
The laser removes the error that is causing unclear focus, eliminating the need to use contact lenses or eye glasses. Laser eye surgery is highly sought after, as it is a permanent solution to impaired vision, allowing for clear vision and a hassle-free life, at least when it comes to eye problems!
Various Types of Laser Eye Surgery
Based on a full optical system analysis, an ophthalmologist can ascertain which type of laser surgery is necessary for you to attain clear vision. The different types are:
- LASIK, or Laser in Situ Keratomileusis is the most common, where the surgeon uses a blade or a laser to create a thin flap and then removes underlying tissue in order to reshape the cornea.
- PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy is the second most common type of corrective surgery, where the surgeon removes a portion of the cornea or the epithelial tissue in order to reshape to cornea.
- LASEK, or Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis is a lot like PRK and LASIK, but differs from them in one key way. It involves the use of alcohol applied on the corneal epithelium, which helps to loosen up the outermost corneal cells, so that they move out of the way without having to remove them to reshape to cornea. To let the eye heal, the surgeon simple replaces the epithelial cells.
- Epi-LASIK, or Epithelial Laser in Situ Keratomileusis also involves creating a thin flap that is moved aside to reshape the stroma, after which the flap is replaced and covered with a contact lens badge.
In addition to the kind of surgery being performed, the types of laser surgery can further be classified depending on the type of laser used. These include:
Diode Laser Treatment
The diode laser is used to reduce the eye pressure by turning off the cells of the eye that produce fluid, in order to reduce the fluid content in the eye. Typically, as the fluid content decreases, the pressure in the eye tends to reduce. High pressure is known to cause impaired vision and can be very painful.
Using the diode laser helps to treat the pain besides restoring vision. The procedure is known to effectively treat glaucoma too. It involves freezing the eye with the help of a needle after which a laser is applied to its surface, in order to release the pressure by turning off the fluid producing cells, and restore vision.
Argon Laser Treatment
Argon laser treatment prevents the development of abnormal blood vessels in the eye and can also minimize the leakage of fluid within blood vessels in the retina. The treatment involves using a laser to treat a variety of problematic eye conditions, which range from diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and macular degeneration, to retinal breaks in terms of holes and tears.
During the eye surgery, a laser is used to open up the fluid channels in the eye in order for the surgeon to drain out excess fluid. Most of the time, however, all the fluid cannot be drained in one go and requires another session to complete the procedure. This reduces the chance of over-draining the eye, which thus lowers the risk of increasing pressure and pain.
Excimer Laser Treatment
The excimer laser is an ultraviolet laser which is also referred to as the exciplex laser. It is commonly used to produce microelectronic devices and microelectromechanical systems, but is also one of the best ways to treat eye conditions through laser surgery.
This is because the ultraviolet rays from the excimer laser are easily absorbed by organic biological matter, and the laser packs enough energy to disrupt the molecular bond of the scar tissue, which then disintegrates into air instead of getting burnt. Excimer lasers are highly effective and are used in a wide variety of eye surgeries.