History of LASIK
Doctor Jose Barraquer first developed a procedure called keratomileusis. A microkeratome which is used to cut a very thin flap in the cornea is used to change the shape of the cornea to change a person’s vision or refractive error. This procedure is called keratomileusis. Taking this concept of changing the shape of the eye to correct a person’s vision was taken a step further with using a laser to remove cornea tissue. The laser was more accurate and precise resulting in excellent vision results.
What is a Laser?
A laser is a focused beam of light of a single wave length. Different wave lengths have different properties in how they act or perform. Some wavelengths cause heat and destruction. Other lasers can cut without producing any heat. In the 1980s an ultraviolet Excimer laser was developed that could cut corneal tissue without causing any damage to the surrounding tissue. This is what is called a cold laser. There is no heat generated with this laser.
After instilling anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye, the area around the eye is draped prior to beginning the operation. A small lid speculum is inserted into the eye to keep the eye open during the surgery. LASIK is an operation where a thin flap in the cornea is made by a microkeratome. The microkeratome is placed on the eye to make the flap. The microkeratome is attached to the eye by suction through the microkeratome. The vision will usually go dark during this time and this is normal. The flap is made in a few seconds and the vision returns. Another method of making the flap is done by a laser called a femtosecond laser. The flap is made with a small hinge that is left to keep the flap in place and orientation. The flap is reflected back and the eye is centered under the laser and focused. The time it takes for the laser to perform the surgery varies on the amount of correction needed. The laser usually takes seconds to complete the surgery. The Excimer is used to cut and remove corneal tissue to change the shape of the cornea. The flap is put back in place and eye drops are instilled into the eye. A shield is place over the eye after the surgery is completed. Both eyes are usually done together. This change in the shape of the cornea changes the refraction or glasses prescription of the eye. The computer in the laser is set to make the eye glasses or prescription free. There are a variety of microkeratomes and lasers available for LASIK.
Advantage of Lasik
The advantage of LASIK over other procedures is the rapid recovery of vision and less pain. Other procedures that can correct vision errors are PRK, LASEK, thin flap LASIK, and Epi-Laisk.