LASIK and laser eye surgery seem to be synonymous, but are they? What types of lasers are used during LASIK?
There are many types of laser eye surgeries including procedures to correct cataracts, other issues with the lens and problems with the cornea. Unlike traditional surgery with a scalpel and surgical tools, laser eye surgery is bladeless. The lasers used in laser eye surgery utilize high energy rays of ultraviolet light to operate precisely and with minimal damage to the surrounding area.
LASIK, which stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a procedure to correct refractive errors that cause blurry vision. A specially trained ophthalmologist guides a laser into the cornea to reshape the eye, which corrects the way light is refracted to the lens. LASIK uses both a femtosecond and excimer laser to achieve optimal results with a quick healing time. First, a femtosecond laser is used to cut a small “door” into the cornea called a LASIK flap. Once the cornea is opened, an excimer laser is used to remove small pieces of corneal tissue to reshape the eye.
Femtosecond lasers are excellent at making precise cuts quickly. They are used to cut flaps in the outer layer of the cornea to access the cornea, lens and other areas of the eye. Femtosecond lasers can cut the flap needed for LASIK surgery in under 15 seconds per eye. Femtosecond lasers have been used in LASIK surgery since 2001.
Excimer lasers emit cool beams of light to remove corneal tissue. This dissolves tissue, rather than burning or physically removing it. Excimer lasers minimize post-surgical pain and recovery time. Another advantage of the excimer laser is that the system is programmed for your individual eye measurements, so adjustments to the cornea’s shape are exact. There are many excimer laser systems approved for use in LASIK surgery, but all operate in the same way.
Interested in learning if you are a candidate for LASIK surgery to correct your vision? Make an appointment with your eye doctor today!