Refractive surgery with excimer laser is a safe and effective surgical technique, which is used to correct vision defects (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) by applying treatment on the corneal surface.
The ability of the laser to remove microscopic parts with extreme precision is exploited to "reshape" the corneal curvature. By doing so one can eliminate or reduce common defects of vision such as near-sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism by limiting the need to wear glasses and contact lenses.
The excimer laser can correct vision defects by vaporizing cold corneal tissue in a targeted manner. This process is performed on the surface with various methods that differ from each other only in the preliminary preparation to the action of laser: PRK, LASEK, EpiLASIK, ASA. The application of the excimer laser that follows is identical for both treatments. The advanced front of this surgery are the customized treatments, that is, reshaping of the cornea using an excimer laser that takes into account individual characteristics and often allows a better view compared to standardized treatments.
What is refractive surgery with excimer laser?
The excimer laser allows the removal of microscopic parts of the tissue of the cornea by modifying the shape of the most important area for focus (optical zone) and also by improving the profile of the surrounding peripheral cornea.
The energy created by the laser produces an "evaporation" of the target tissue without damaging the surrounding tissues. The tissue is excised with an extraordinary precision, impossible to make with human hands, measured in microns (thousandth of a millimetre) for each emitted hit and with a reproducibility that is not attainable by any other means.
How does refractive surgery with excimer laser work?
Initially, the doctor will perform a specialized control of the overall health of the patient and additional safety check of the clinical data in the patient’s medical record. These checks are part of the philosophy of Humanitas, which aim to protect the patient’s safety by checking the medical record several times with a dedicated checklist to each individual patient. These checks aid the nursing team in the surgery preparation and the administration of therapies indicated by the surgeon. Patients are allowed to eat and drink normally before the treatment.
It is important for the patient not to wear make-up and perfume (the alcohol vapours may interfere with the laser beam) and avoid aftershave alcohol.
It is recommended that a friend or family member accompany the patient because after the treatment the eyes may be watery, sensitive to light, and the patient’s driving abilities may be impaired. Moreover, it is important to bring all preliminary tests performed prior to the surgery.
Generally, the surgery is performed on both eyes in the same operative session. In some cases, the surgeon may decide to perform two separate surgeries for each eye. All surgical techniques for this treatment are performed with topical anaesthesia (drops).
Furthermore, it is also recommended to avoid the use of contact lenses for at least 4 days prior to the treatment.
What are the benefits of refractive surgery with excimer laser?
After over 20 years of experience, the incidence of complications related to the intervention is extremely low. The refractive surgery is an extremely precise technique and it is considered effective and safe because it eliminates or reduces the visual defects in the majority of patients. Effective results are achieved if experienced surgeons in highly specialized centres perform the operation.
Finally, it is important to note that the refractive surgery (whichever the technique) focuses on the resolution of refractive defects only and it does not change the conditions that may be associated with the defect.