While having fun hearing about all the celebrity gossip and news in our free time, there are a few things that we should pay our attention. One of those things is our health. We will dedicate today’s article for the health of our eyes.
One of the most popular and effective advances made in laser eye correction in the past. few years is LASIK laser eye surgery. Besides using ultra-smooth contact lenses, the patient can undergo this procedure which can be performed on an outpatient basis and the patient’s recovery time is only a day or two. For most people undergoing this type of laser eye correction, there is almost always instant improvement in vision.
What are the Types of Laser Eye Correction?
Lasik is not the only type of laser eye correction available; however, it is the most popular. Lasik (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis)requires the surgeon to numb your eyes and in the corner of the eye, they will cut a flap. Using a laser beam that is guided by a computer, the cornea is reshaped. The accuracy when reshaping the cornea is what alters vision.
Zyoptix is one of the newest procedures available for correcting vision. The advantages of this procedure are the ability to use it for various eye conditions. In addition, the laser works more rapidly and this increases the accuracy of the surgeon when reshaping the cornea. Minute changes can result in a change in vision when reshaping the cornea, so using the most advanced laser available will allow better vision.
Among other techniques that are available today is Lasek, which is performed by the surgeon using a tiny blade to lift the outer layer of the eyeball. The tissue is then loosened using alcohol and the laser beam is trained under this tissue. The cornea is reshaped quite similarly to using Lasik correction and recovery time is minimal, usually only a day or two.
Another type of laser eye correction is PRK and it is the oldest of these methods. Photorefractive keratectomy or PRK is rarely used anymore, but the method involved a laser which the surgeon would use to vaporize the eye’s outer surface. The cornea is then reshaped. Due to the removal of the eye’s outer surface, this type of laser eye correction can take several months for the eye to completely heal. Results are best for people who have mild to average eye problems.
What are the Benefits of Laser Eye Correction?
For those who have worn glasses all their life, the prospect of not needing glasses or contacts to see is a huge breakthrough. The possibility of having perfect vision or almost perfect vision reduces expense. Buying glasses or contacts over the years can add up to quite a bit of money. The convenience is another plus when this option is considered.
Laser eye correction can help those who suffer from far-sightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. The accuracy of laser correction is the key to reshaping the cornea for better vision. There are new technologies being studied constantly for eye corrective surgery and the lasers used are key to this surgery as well.
Current Laser Technologies
Using a laser beam guided by a computer is the typical way of reshaping the cornea. One of the current laser technologies includes excimer lasers. This type has been in use since the early 1990s. Instead of using lasers to burn eye tissue or shock it into separating, the excimer laser uses a cool beam of light. This results in moving a layer at a time in order to gain access to the cornea. Excimer lasers are more accurate when used to reshape the cornea.
Another type is the wavefront custom LASIK laser. This type is more accurate than the excimer laser. Measuring the eye and generating a 3-D map using special lasers, the map is used by computer-guided lasers which reshape the cornea.
This is another field of study benefiting from new technologies that are being developed constantly. The more accurate the surgeon can be when working with the outer surface of the eye and accessing the cornea for reshaping, the better the results experienced will be for improved vision.
A Look at the History of Laser Eye Correction
Refraction, the eye’s ability to bend the light that changes its direction so that it can be focused on the retina, has been studied for years. A Dutch professor documented the principles of surgery of the eye (keratotomy) as far back as 1898.
A breakthrough was accidentally discovered in the 1970s in Russia. Dr. Fyodorov treated a young boy who had broken his glasses and lacerated his eye. After treatment and recovery when his eyes were tested, there was actually an improvement in sight rather than damage.
The results motivated Dr. Fyodorov to research efforts in the past that involved correcting the eye’s ability to bend light. Working out a method that could be used to predict the outcome of this surgery generated interest among American ophthalmologists in 1978.
Dr. Leo Bores, founder as well as the director of the Bores Eye Institute, visited Dr. Fyodorov in Russia and upon his return to the United States shared Dr. Fyodorov’s findings. He was the first doctor in the U.S. to perform radial keratotomy. Since its introduction in the U.S., radial keratotomy has been used on more than 2 million patients. Due to the interest generated by the discovery in Russia, research was instigated into other forms of radial keratotomy.
The IBM research laboratories were the scene of most of this research. One researcher, Dr. Srinivasin was responsible for discovering the potential that Excimer lasers had when working with biological tissue and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven Trokel, connected this potential to work with the cornea.
Clinical trials of LASIK were first conducted in the United States in 1991. The FDA approved this laser surgery for low myopia (nearsightedness) in 1996. They approved the surgery for astigmatism in 1997.
Vision Correction Equipment
As previously mentioned, Dr. Steven Trokel, who connected the potential of Excimer lasers and the cornea for vision correction patented the Excimer laser for this purpose. A New York City ophthalmologist, Dr. Trokel performed the first laser surgery in 1987.
For the next ten years, researchers would study the techniques and perfect the equipment that would be used in laser eye surgery. The first Excimer laser was approved in the U.S. for ophthalmic refraction in 1996.
The Ruby Laser
In 1960, Theodore Maiman invented a ruby laser. The Ruby laser, so called because a crystal of ruby is used was the first successful light laser according to some, but others believe that Gordon Gould invented the first one. Due to issues with patenting, he did not get a patent for his laser light until 1977 and this left his technology open for others to use.
How it Works
The crystal of ruby is formed into a cylinder, with a fully reflective mirror at one end and a partially reflective mirror at the other end. Using a high-intensity light that provides the flash of white light is what stimulates the laser. This light is wrapped around the cylinder made from the crystal of ruby.
Wavelengths in the flash, which are blue and green, stimulate the electrons in the chromium atoms and they are catapulted to an increased energy level. As they return to their previous state, they send out the ruby-red light. This is when the mirrors reflect a part of this light between each other in the crystal until other chromium atoms are stimulated. This produces even more red light and as this pulse builds up, it drains the crystal’s energy.
As a certain energy level is attained, the atoms will emit photons. They, in turn, cause other atoms to emit more photons and the light in intensified dramatically. The mirrors continue to reflect the photons until finally, they leave through the partially reflective mirror and this is laser light.
The Pros and Cons of Laser Eye Surgery
Although laser eye correction surgery is an exciting alternative for those who wear glasses or contacts and most people can benefit from this surgery, there are a few facts that people should be aware of before opting for this procedure. A complete eye examination is necessary to determine if the surgery is going to be viable before any decisions are made.
There is a low risk of complications. Although today’s laser eye correction surgeries are very safe and complications are rare there are always risks. If the need for a stronger prescription is necessary every year, laser correction may not be a good choice. If certain health conditions are present, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus is present, healing may be influenced.
There will always be a risk of dislocation of the flap of the eye if there would be any trauma. Those who participate in sports or other activities where contact is a concern may not be good candidates. Those who are under 18 may not have developed vision stable enough for this procedure and older patients need to be screened for cataracts or other eye problems that could prevent them from having laser eye correction surgery.
In some cases, this procedure has made some aspects of vision worse, such as night vision. The instance of the dry-eye syndrome has also been a problem for some. There is always the rare chance that the surgery can make vision worse and unable to be corrected even with glasses or contacts.
Although laser eye correction surgery can accurately correct eyesight for most people suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, the procedure is quite precise and is usually completed within 10 minutes, an eye exam and follow up will be the only sure way of knowing if this procedure will be the right one.
Laser eye correction surgery can accurately correct eyesight for most people suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, the procedure is quite precise and is usually completed within 10 minutes. The only way to be positive that it would be a good choice for correcting each individual’s eye problems is to have an eye exam and discuss the procedure with a reputable eye surgeon.