Developments in technology have revolutionized every industry, and medicine – including eye care and surgery – is no different. Techniques and tools that were at the forefront a decade ago are giving way to even newer and more progressive approaches today.
What that means for your eyes is this: Pre-eminent eye surgeons now have access to technology superior to that in the past, which means surgery techniques have changed and outcomes can be even better. The LASIK surgery you may be familiar with has grown into an even more sophisticated version, while new procedures now exist for when LASIK is not appropriate. Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL), for instance, help those who have dry eye syndrome or severe nearsightedness.
Why New Technology Matters
Refractive surgery is surgery that corrects your vision so that you no longer need glasses or contacts, and LASIK – the term stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis– continues to be the most popular refractive surgery, due to its wide acceptance and patients’ satisfaction with their surgical outcomes.
Leading-edge technology today begins with the laser that a surgeon uses. If you first learned about LASIK years ago, you probably are more familiar with previous versions of the surgery. In earlier years of LASIK, surgeons numbed the eye with anesthetic eye drops and then used a tool called a mechanical microkeratome to cut a thin, hinged flap into the cornea. The flap was folded back, and the surgeon guided an excimer laser over the middle of the cornea to reshape it. (Unlike earlier lasers, excimer lasers could make vision corrections without harming nearby tissue.) When finished, the corneal flap was laid back into place, where it would heal on its own.
Another technological innovation changed LASIK when doctors began using laser energy to replace the microkeratome blade in cutting the corneal flap. This femtosecond laser was called IntraLase and was even more precise in many situations. This meant, among other things, that even people with very thin corneas – some who were previously unable to have LASIK – were now candidates for the procedure.
Newer yet was a machine called a “wavefront-guided laser,” which offered surgeons eye measurements in smaller increments and actually mapped how light traveled through the eye and landed on the retina. With this information, the laser had a path as individual as a fingerprint to follow.
Technological progress always brings with it the question of what went before – were old procedures bad? No. In LASIK’s case, there have long been high success rates and high numbers of satisfied patients. But when a technological development makes an even more sophisticated and precise result achievable, it is the option a surgeon will favor. For more information, visit our Lasik Surgery Center in Atlanta, GA.