Laser Eye Technology
Laser eye technology is the foundation of successful vision correction and, when combined with a high level of surgical skill, can produce outstanding results.
Advanced laser eye technology has led to LASIK results rapidly progressing over the last 20 years. The first LASIK procedure was performed in 1991 with laser eye technology which was far from the advanced systems we use today.
Pioneering laser technology
Pioneering work during the 1970s and 1980s led to the development of the precision etching excimer laser at IBM’s research facility in Rochester, New York.
The key feature that makes the excimer laser suitable for reshaping the cornea is its cool beam technology that can remove tissue without thermal damage. The initial application of this etching laser was to replicate the radial cuts of the RK (radial keratotomy) surgical treatment to correct shortsight. It was soon realised that a better application of the excimer energy was to broadly flatten the cornea across its surface, and so changing its curvature without actual cuts.
Modern laser eye technology
In the early 90s, lasers used a rough broad-beam approach, leaving an obvious step appearance on the surface of the cornea, with corresponding optical aberrations. Modern laser eye technology uses a sophisticated “flying spot” excimer laser, with hundreds of pulses every second, to create a very smooth reshaping of the corneal tissue. Such pioneering laser technology has transformed LASIK results to a point where, at Focus Clinics, we can now achieve 100% of shortsighted patients seeing 20/20 vision after surgery.
State-of-the-art laser technology now requires the use of two lasers to perform a LASIK eye correction procedure. The surgery begins by using a femtosecond laser (for example the Ziemer LDV produced in Switzerland) to create a corneal flap. This hinged flap is folded to one side and the second excimer laser, such as the WaveLight laser manufactured in Germany, is then used to reshape the corneal curvature.
The cool beam of the excimer laser is ideally suited to gently removing corneal tissue without heat and is so precise that it can remove one quarter of a micron (µ) with each pulse. (1 µ = one millionth of a metre)
We are indebted to the early pioneers in the field of excimer and femtosecond systems, that have led to the advanced laser eye technology that can now achieve such dramatic results.