The “1 millionth of a billionth of a second” surgery
Eye Surgery Laser eye surgery technology has advanced tremendously in recent years leading to "shorter and safer pulses" of beamed light for surgery, says Bobby Qureshi, at the London Eye Hospital.
Laser eye surgery - over in 30 seconds
“We can now make incisions with the laser and dissolve the cataracts; which means that an operation that used to take 20 minutes now takes 30 seconds.”
In correcting long-sight, short- sight and astigmatism, Qureshi explains that an excimer laser shaves “tiny pieces off the surface of the cornea… and when I say ‘tiny’, I mean microns — but hundreds of them, in a couple of seconds.”
“Once people are in their 40s, it’s generally the lens inside their eye that’s the problem because it stiffens,” says Qureshi. “This means replacing an aging eye lens with a permanent artiﬁcial one to give perfect near and far vision that will last forever.”
"New laser technology has made the procedure much easier and safer."
This has traditionally involved making an incision in the eye with a blade and creating an opening into the eye with a needle. The lens is then broken up with ultrasound, removing the pieces and then implanting the new lens via an injection-sounds wonderful. When this opens up into the space vacated by the old lens, it gives the patient restored 20/20 vision.
Now, however, new laser technology has made the procedure much easier and safer.
“The laser works out a 3-D picture of the eyeball at a micron level of accuracy,” says Qureshi. “It makes the incision, creates the opening for the new lens and dissolves the old one — and it does it all in 30 seconds.”
Facts about laser eye surgery
- Recovery after refractive laser eye surgery and refractive lens exchange is virtually instant.
- Laser technology is so advanced that implants in the eye can now be changed via computer to sharpen vision post-operation.
- Lasers can be used to treat diabetes in the eye; and lasers will be used in future to treat muscular degeneration.
- Because lasers cauterise as they cut and don’t cause bruising, they are also used in plastic surgery of the eyelid.