Laser Eye Surgery Technology: What is Spot Size?

For those of us outside the inner circle of Laser Eye Surgery, it can be easy to be intimidated by the technology used to perform the procedure. And that’s without considering the jargon that is batted around left and right when researching Laser Eye Surgery clinics. That’s why we’re on a mission to be as transparent about the technology used at London Vision Clinic – and given that we have access to some of the most up-to-date technology in the world, why shouldn’t we?

In this article, we’ll be explaining what is meant by “spot size” in Laser Eye Surgery. You might have seen this phrase online during your research or you may have heard clinic staff mention it at your initial consultation. But don’t worry, they weren’t pointing out a blemish on your face! They were actually referring to the laser used in your treatment. So, let me explain.

Understanding Spot Size: Excimer Lasers

At London Vision Clinic, we employ a wide range of state-of-the-art technology throughout your treatment. From your initial consultation to the day of your surgery, you will likely see a number of devices that you are not familiar with – arguably the most important of which is the Excimer laser.

Excimer lasers are the primary laser used in Laser Eye Surgery. They emit pulses of ultraviolet (UV) light which, rather than cutting or burning the treatment area, disrupts the molecular bonds of the corneal tissue. This allows a pre-determined portion of tissue to be removed, effectively reshaping the cornea and improving its refractive power.

Spot size refers to the size of the laser beam at the point it makes contact with the eye – the “spot”. As Professor Dan Reinstein explains in the video below, the importance of spot size can be likened to that of brush size for an artist.

Youtube video link

The smaller the spot size of a laser, the more focused it is on the treatment area. This not only allows for a higher level of precision but also increases the intensity of the beam. Furthermore, there is an interplay between the spot size and the speed of the laser, allowing it to move around the eye at a faster rate. Generally speaking, lasers with a smaller spot size are better than broad-area lasers in Laser Eye Surgery.

Most excimer lasers have a spot size of between 0.5 mm and 2.0 mm. At 0.7mm, the MEL 80 – the excimer laser used at London Vision Clinic – has one of the smallest beams available for the most precise treatment. This allows us to deliver a more focused beam with a higher intensity and effectively ensures we remove only the material needed to correct your refractive error.

If you’d like to learn more about Laser Eye Surgery technology at London Vision Clinic, one of our friendly clinic coordinators can help – just get in touch today! Alternatively, Book a Consultation to start your journey to clear, glasses-free vision.