Excimer laser

What is it for?

Laser refractive surgery for the correction of refractive error.

In short-sighted patients, the laser flattens the cornea in the central zone. In long-sighted patients, the laser steepens the central cornea by removing tissue in the periphery.

In astigmatic patients, the laser flattens or steepens the cornea in one meridian (direction), in order to make the cornea more spherical (round instead of oval).

The laser beam will be a certain size and a certain shape. The point where the laser touches the eye is called a spot. The smaller the spot, the more focused it is, creating a higher intensity beam that moves around the eye at a faster rate.

This means the laser only removes the material it needs to, providing a more precise treatment.

What actually happens?

You lie back on a bed and look into a flashing light. In the space of seconds, the laser removes a tiny, precise amount of corneal tissue to alter the optical focusing properties of the eye.

How does it benefit you?

The excimer laser is an extremely high-precision sculpting tool that changes the focusing of the eye. It enables specialist eye surgeons to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

There have been significant strides made in laser technology over the last two decades, but finding a surgeon who has the experience and expertise to use the technology to best effect is critical to successful treatment.

Some excimer laser brands are Alcon, Bausch and Lomb, Nidek, Schwind, VISX, WaveLight and Carl Zeiss.

How does it feel?

You will hear the buzzing sounds from the laser, and some patients report seeing a ‘kaleidoscopic’ light. However, you will not feel anything during the treatment.

Some patients also report smelling a ‘burning’ odour (similar to the scent sometimes emitted from a hairdryer). This is not actually a burning smell; it comes from the breaking of carbon bonds in the tissues of the cornea.