LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are several different types of lasers used to treat the eye. Lasers can be used to manage glaucoma, repair a retinal tear or detachment, treat a post-operative cataract patient and they are also used in Refractive Surgery. Refractive Surgery is a method of optical correction using the excimer laser, to change the shape of the front surface of the eye (cornea). This change corrects refraction errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
Prior to considering surgery, several tests are necessary to determine whether you are a good candidate. Not every person or prescription can have surgery. Some exclusion factors include: diabetes, glaucoma, thin corneas, autoimmune diseases, large refractive errors and many more. To evaluate your candidacy, a pre-surgical evaluation will be done several weeks to months before you have surgery. Several eye drops will be used to evaluate the health and to determine the ‘laser prescription’.
The LASIK procedure begins with your eye being numbed with drops. Next, the microkeratome is gently placed on the surface and creates the protective flap. During this portion of the surgery, the patient may experience blur and a pressure sensation, but not any pain. Following this, the surgeon lifts the flap and the cornea is now ready for the excimer laser. The laser beam is now applied to the exposed corneal surface. The amount of laser is determined in your pre-surgical exam and is already programmed into the laser. The flap is then gently replaced and aligned back into its original position.
Intralase is a modified version of LASIK, which is ‘blade-free’. Instead of the corneal flap being created using the microkeratome, another laser is used. This level of precision, suggests that Intralase may be of benefit to individuals with thinner corneas and may help to provide better vision.