Laser eye surgery explained

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By AdFeatures | Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 14:46


As most people with visual problems will tell you, wearing glasses or contact lenses can become tiresome, hence the emergence of a popular alternative treatment: laser eye surgery.

This treatment can correct eye problems such as myopia and hyperopia, commonly known as long-sightedness and short-sightedness. Even conditions such as astigmatism can be treated in this manner. It is fast becoming a popular alternative to spectacles and contact lenses and is a relatively painless procedure with a quick recovery time.

A brief history of laser eye surgery

Living in Bogotá, Colombia in the 1950s, a Spanish ophthalmologist called José Ignacio Barraquer made his name as “the father of modern refractive surgery”. In his clinic, he practiced slicing flaps one hundredth of a millimetre thick into corneas to alter their shape.

Barraquer's work was built upon by a Russian scientist by the name of Svyatoslav Fyorodov, who went on to design the first implantable contact lenses in the 1980s. The work of Barraquer and Fyorodov was combined with that of Mani Lal Bhaumik whose activities at the Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Centre of the University of California culminated in a carbon dioxide laser. This was later named the excimer laser; often described as the cornerstone of laser eye surgery.

Application of lasers in medicine

In the 1980s, Rangaswamy Srinivasan discovered that this excimer laser could be used to etch living bodily tissue with a high degree of accuracy and with absolutely no heat damage to any of the flesh in the area. Using the techniques and discoveries developed by these great scientists the first refractive laser eye surgery was performed in 1989 by Marguerite B. Macdonald MD.

Since the 1990s, there have been many developments in the technology and techniques used in laser eye treatment, including faster lasers and bladeless incisions. Leading specialists, such as Optimax, now offer these revolutionary services as routine procedures, boasting high levels of success and patient satisfaction.

The procedure of laser eye surgery

The basic premise of what laser eye treatment involves is easy to grasp. First a flap is created on the surface of the cornea. The tissue beneath is then remodelled until the desired curvature is achieved. Finally, the flap of the cornea is repositioned and then reattaches naturally.

Preparation for treatment

There are a few things that a patient is required to do before undertaking laser eye surgery. Of course consultations with specialists are provided beforehand, but it is always useful to know a bit about what you are required to do before making your decision whether to embark upon the procedure.

You will probably be asked to stop wearing your contact lenses for a period leading up to the surgery. The length of this period will be different depending on the sort of contact lenses you usually wear and how long you have been wearing them. After a consultation, an examination of your eye will be undertaken to determine the exact shape and what sort of irregularities must be corrected. Antibiotics or eyedrops may be administered at this stage.

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