Excimer laser is a form of ultraviolet laser which is commonly used in eye surgery in order to reshape the anterior corneal stroma by breaking collagen bonds and expelling or ablating corneal tissue with each laser pulse. It is done to improve vision and reduce an individual’s need for glasses or contact lenses.
Before undergoing any eye surgery, a complete eye exam must be done to ensure the eyes are healthy. Other tests are also done to measure the curvature of the cornea, the size of the pupils in light and dark, the eyes’ refractive error and the thickness of the cornea.
Excimer laser of Humanitas Eye Center embeds various, highly advanced technologies, to allow correction of vision defects such as near-sightedness, astigmatism, long-sightedness, and far-sightedness. For clear vision, the eye’s cornea and lens must bend (refract) light rays properly to permit images to be focused on the retina, otherwise, the images will be blurry. The blurriness is referred to as a “refractive error”. A small amount of corneal tissue is removed, giving the cornea a new shape so that light rays are focused clearly on the retina. The procedure is done in an increasingly less invasive manner, thus preserving the cornea as much as possible and saving its tissue.
The extreme precision of the excimer laser at Humanitas Eye Center also allows for performing alternative treatment to corneal transplantation, either through vaporization of the sole diseased corneal tissue or through creation of the right bed for lamellar implant. Moreover, the laser action can be adjusted with two different degrees of intensity: A strong intensity to rapidly remove the tissue and a less intense degree to obtain a perfectly smooth corneal surface.
Further, the inclusion of a sophisticated tracking system (eye tracking) allows to account for all possible unintentional eye movements along the 6 reference planes during surgery (right, left, high, low, forward, backward, as well as circular and angular movements). This in turn results in extremely fast and even more accurate interventions. The laser system also features a sophisticated OCT (optical coherence tomography) which allows for obtaining eye images at an extremely high resolution so that the precise measurement of corneal thickness and the course of the surgery can be controlled continually and in real time, further ensuring a faster and less painful post-operative recovery.
Possible risks that can arise from excimer laser surgery include:
- Corneal infection
- Corneal scarring
- Dry eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Blindness (rare)
Following excimer laser surgery, the eyes may feel sensitive and a patch is usually placed to protect the flap and prevent rubbing until recovery. It is extremely important not to rub the eyes, so the flap does not dislodge or move. Eye drops may be given to prevent infection and inflammation. Vision may feel blurry the day of the surgery; however, it tends to improve by the next day. Follow up appointments must be made to test vision and check for any changes or complications that might arise.