Laser Eye Surgery Treats a Variety of Vision Problems
The eyes are some of the most sensitive and delicate organs in the human body, which is why eye surgery requires the most precise and technologically advanced equipment available. While most people are aware that lasers play a role in eye surgery, not many realize just how versatile they are. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. William Segal has more than twenty years of experience performing advanced laser eye surgery to treat a wide variety of different conditions.
Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism
The most well-known use for lasers in eye surgery is LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, a procedure that can correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and some forms of astigmatism. During a bladeless LASIK procedure, a specialized femtosecond laser is used to create a thin, circular “flap” in the cornea, allowing access to the underlying cornea (called the stroma). At this point a second excimer laser, which uses a cool ultraviolet light beam, removes microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea, painlessly reshaping it so that it can more accurately focus light on the retina.
Light-sensitive cells that line the retina at the back of the eye are supplied with oxygen and nutrients by a delicate network of tiny blood vessels. Retinopathy occurs when these delicate blood vessels have been damaged, typically as a result of untreated diabetes but also potentially due to other conditions like hypertension, atherosclerosis, or sickle cell disease. Photocoagulation treatment uses a laser to seal off the ends of abnormal or damaged blood vessels, causing them to shrink and disappear over time. While this does not repair damage to the retinal cells that may have already occurred, it does prevent further damage and further vision loss.
When defects in the structure of the eye prevent certain vital eye fluids from circulating properly, the gradual increase in ocular pressure can cause damage to the ocular nerve, leading to a condition called glaucoma. While there are varying treatments for the different types of glaucoma, Lumenis® SLT, an FDA-approved laser therapy, can sometimes be used to reduce and control eye pressure. This treatment is beneficial for many glaucoma patients as it often provides long-term control and may reduce the need for regular eye drop medication.
As the lenses in the eyes grow older, and particularly after they have been exposed to certain harmful environmental factors like ultraviolet light or cigarette smoke, they can start to develop cloudy areas, called cataracts. Over time, cataracts generally grow larger, making it increasingly difficult for the patient to see clearly. Serious cataracts are often treated by replacing the damaged lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens implant. Dr, Segal performs this short procedure with the computer-guided LenSx® laser, the newest and most advanced technology available. After cataract surgery, patients will generally have much clearer and sharper vision, and many even find that they no longer need to use their prescription eyeglasses.
Although the idea of using lasers to perform surgery on the eyes may cause some anxiety, patients are usually pleasantly surprised to find that laser eye surgery procedures are relatively quick and painless. If you have any questions about the health of your eyes, or if you would like to schedule a routine or comprehensive medical eye exam, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons to make an appointment with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on how to keep your vision clear.