Lasik surgery techniques have changed over the years. The original surgeries were performed using a surgical scalpel to expose and remove connective tissue in your cornea. If the connective tissue becomes deformed, the cornea will get bent out of shape and you will typically suffer from near- or far-sightedness. Using a surgical scalpel often caused people to permanently suffer from dry eye or nighttime vision problems. Using a femtosecond laser to open the cornea has decreased the rate of complications while improving the overall results of Lasik surgery. Here is how femtosecond lasers work and how they have helped to reduce the complications associated with using a scalpel to perform the surgery.
Femtosecond lasers emit a light beam that can cut through the top skin layers of the cornea at a speed of one beam every billionth of a second. The laser will cut thin layers of the skin over the cornea to create a flap that will get pulled back to expose the connective tissue.
Femtosecond lasers use bubbles to separate the layers of skin over the cornea versus slicing the skin with a scalpel. The bubbles lift up a layer of skin, and then the laser makes a precise cut that a scalpel can't produce to separate the skin and create the flap.
Once the flap is lifted back over the cornea, the surgeon can use another type of laser, called an excimer laser, to vaporize some of the connective tissue to reshape the cornea so you can see better. After the excimer laser has been used, the flap is pulled back over the eye and allowed to heal.
The thin cuts that the femtosecond laser did on the skin over the cornea allows the healing process to happen faster and reduces the chances of certain complications.
The thin precise skin layer cuts produced by femtosecond lasers help top address the following complications:
Dry Eye. A common complication Lasik surgery patients regularly experienced were dry eyes. Patients would have to use special eye drops to keep their eyes lubricated. Some patients may still experience dry eye for a few weeks after surgery, but the condition should subside once the eye heals.
Night Vision. Another common complication that has been reduced through the use of femtosecond lasers is night vision problems. Laser surgery patients commonly complained about seeing things like halos around objects and light streaks during the night. The night vision problems now typically clear up as well after a few weeks in most people.
You should consult with an eye doctor (such as one from Foulkes Vision Institute) to learn more and to see if you are a candidate for using femtosecond lasers during your Lasik surgery.