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Eye Laser Correction - How Eye Laser Correction is Performed

by joe johnston

Developed by a Spanish ophthalmologist in the 1950’s and used to correct vision problems in the eye, laser correction surgery has been a godsend to many people around the world with eye disorders. Although eye laser correction was not available in the United States till the late 1980’s, it gained popularity throughout the rest of the world due to its cutting edge application of scientific principles to the improvement of human health, and its comparatively low rate of complications.
Since the discovery of the basics of eye laser correction, many improvements to the technique have been made. An ultraviolet Excimer laser was developed which could precisely etch living tissue without damaging the surrounding area in any way. This phenomenon led to the modern application of the technique of eye laser correction. The Excimer laser used in eye laser correction makes possible the precise and rapid correction of astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia, among many other common optical errors.
FDA approval for eye laser correction surgery was first given in the early 1990’s and soon the Excimer laser was being mass manufactured. Despite some underlying limitations of eye laser correction surgery such as undesirable temporary damage to certain nerves in the eye, today’s eye laser correction has become much faster, more precise, and more effective due to years of successful use and improvements.
The eye laser correction procedure begins with examination of the corneas by a topographer to determine their surface contour and a pachymeter to grade their thickness. A topographic map of the cornea is created to detect any issues or irregularities in the cornea that may affect the outcome of eye laser correction. Making use of this information, the surgeon is then able to calculate exactly how much and where the laser corrective technique should be applied for maximum results.
The patient must be kept awake and mobile during eye laser correction, but sometimes a mild sedative may be administered to keep him or her calm. There are three steps to an eye laser correction operation, as listed below.
First, a corneal suction ring mechanism holds the eye still while the surgeon creates a thin flap within the cornea using a mechanical metal blade. The flap is left attached to the cornea by a tiny hinge and folded back across the eye to reveal the middle section of the cornea, known as the stroma. This process may sometimes cause slight discomfort to the patient.
Next, eye laser correction is performed using an Excimer laser. Contrary to popular opinion, no burning or cutting is performed on the cornea or anywhere around the eye using this laser. Instead, the Excimer laser is able to remodel the cornea by vaporization of targeted tissue which is done in a highly controlled way causing no damage to any adjacent areas of the cornea. The patient’s vision may become temporarily blurry due to the removal of the flap, and during the actual process of eye laser correction they may only be able to see the orange light of the laser surrounded by a white field. This is in no way harmful to the eye and will not cause any lasting damage. The affected tissue vaporized by eye laser correction is only tens of micrometers thick and this procedure causes almost no pain and allows for quick visual recovery.
And last, after the eye laser correction procedure is performed, all that remains is for the flap to be repositioned. The surgeon carefully replaces the corneal flap over the corrected area, checks for debris and air bubbles, and makes sure everything is precisely in place. Natural healing will quickly occur to seal the flap once again to the cornea but, until then, natural adhesion holds it in place against the eye. Protective goggles may be given to the patient to prevent them from rubbing their eyes while sleeping and an assortment of eye drops and moisturizers are prescribed to reduce post-operative procedures and minimize the risk of complications.
Although complications are few and rare, some have been known to occur. Dry eyes is the most common post-surgery irritation known to stem directly from eye laser correction but this condition is easily treated using a combination of simple techniques. If treated properly, incidences of dry eyes can usually be successfully mitigated.

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