How technically complex is LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

It only makes sense that an organ as complex as the human eye should need a technically complex procedure to alter it.

The eye is made up of an incredibly precise arrangement of components. If just one of these components is not precisely the right shape, or in precisely the right position, then things start to go wrong. The major issue seen in common refractive errors is that the eye fails to focus light correctly.

Generations have passed where the only way to change the angle of light entering the eye was through external lenses. Of course today, thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, it’s now possible to directly alter the shape of the eye itself.

Looking inside the eye

The eye can in some ways be compared to a camera. It has a variable opening called the pupil, a lens system which includes the cornea, a film known as the retina, and various muscles—or features—which control movements in the size of the opening and lens system.

Laser Eye Surgery is based on reshaping the cornea to re-align the focal point of the eye. The idea is to change the focal point so it aligns perfectly with the retina, just how it should naturally. LASIK, or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, is the world’s most popular method of doing just that.

A look inside LASIK

LASIK differs from previous forms of Laser Eye Surgery such as LASEK/PRK. Whereas in these ‘surface procedures’ the outer layer of the cornea or the ‘epithelium’ is removed entirely to reach the treatment area, LASIK takes a more subtle approach.

Using a device called a femtosecond laser the surgeon creates an ultra thin circular flap in the epithelium. By doing this and then folding the flap to one side, the surgeon can access the underlying tissue with minimal disruption of the cornea.

An excimer laser is then used to remove a predetermined, microscopic amount of corneal tissue through sending a specific number of pulses to the area. The flap is replaced to its original position, and the cornea conforms to the new shape.

As the cornea’s natural barrier to the elements, the epithelium is highly effectively in it’s ability to heal itself. In the majority of cases, the flap will have healed in only a few hours—in comparison to PRK/LASEK where the epithelium repopulates over several days.

A closer look at the excimer laser

The excimer laser did nothing less than revolutionise the field of Laser Eye Surgery, increasing safety, predictability, and overall performance of refractive surgeries.

A ‘cold laser’ such as the excimer works by electrically stimulating gases such as chlorine, fluorine and argon to create a pseudo molecule which, when ‘lasered’, produces light in the ultraviolet range. When the ultraviolet light is channelled and it hits organic materials, such as corneal tissue in the eye, it results in the breakdown of molecular bonds that bind the material together.

The Zeiss MEL 90 excimer laser has proven to be the most accurate LASIK laser in the world. Developed by a team of Laser Eye Surgery experts including Professor Dan Reinstein, the MEL90 offers incredibly accurate and auto-stabalised delivery, along with the fastest responses of any laser, and cutting edge eye-tracking technology.

LASIK can appear complex to the average person who hasn’t specialised for years in refractive surgery, but the reality is it’s pretty straightforward. The position of the eye makes it relatively easy to examine and explore compared to other organs of the body, and so when it comes to fixing it, rest assured we certainly know our stuff.

If you would like to book a consultation at London Vision Clinic, or find out more about LASIK, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.