What is a LASER and how does it work?
The term ‘LASER’ is an abbreviation for ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’.
Various types of ophthalmic lasers are used to treat different types of eye conditions. Ophthalmic lasers are named according to the material contained in their plasma tube source.
In the most commonly used ophthalmic lasers, a powerful electric current is passed through a tube containing one of several gases (Argon, Krypton or Argon Fluoride) or a solid material (neodymium-YAG, Q-Switched). Light Energy is produced and the laser emits a small uniform light beam which, when focused through a microscope or other lenses, produces either heat coagulation, tissue cutting, or ablates / evaporates certain eye tissues – as per the need of the patient.
OLDER Argon gas lasers emit a green or blue-green light beam, and is used to treat Retinal or Iris tissue, while the Krypton gas laser emits a red or yellow light beam to be used for treating other types of Retinal conditions. Both are less frequently used nowadays.
Solid state crystal lasers and diode lasers are commonly available too, and have other specific applications.
NEWER Q-Switched and YAG Lasers are more widely used to treat Retina and Iris Tissue conditions, as well as separating / breaking thin membranes.
Excimer (Excited Dimer) Laser is used during LASIK and PRK / Epi-Lasek / LASEK surgeries for Vision Correction and Enhancement of previous similar surgeries.
Femto-Second Lasers are used to separate layers of clear tissue so as to create Corneal Flaps for LASIK, Pockets for Corneal Inserts and Reshaping (SMILE), and entry wounds for corneal & Cataract surgery and Corneal Grafts, as well as Lens Fragmentation for Cataract Surgery.
What are the advantages of using ophthalmic lasers?
The ophthalmic laser allow patients to be treated without the risk of infection, in a relatively painless way with minimal discomfort, on an outpatient basis. With their sophisticated microscopic focusing and delivery systems, ophthalmic lasers provide the ophthalmologist with precision and control not previously available with other surgical techniques. This precision, safety, convenience, and reduced cost allows more people to be treated successfully for an increasing number of eye disorders and diseases.