Upcoming trends in refractive surgery

LASIK an acronym for LAser in SItu Keratomileusisis is a method of re-shaping the external surface of the eye [the cornea] to correct low, moderate and high degrees of nearsightedness, astigmatism and far-sightedness. LASIK is an outpatient procedure that usually takes 5-10 minutes per eye.  Anaesthetic eye drops make it a pain-free procedure. The actual laser treatment usually takes less than 20 seconds even for higher spectacle powers.

The success of laser vision correction or LASIK depends on a multitude of factors, primary being the expertise of the doctor along with a good laser technology in an International standard set up of hygiene and care with stringent eligibility criteria.

The newer laser technologies entering the refractive market are focusing on ‘Futuristic Concept Lasers’ have been created to remove the drawbacks of earlier lasers and give precision in results including to improve night vision.

Such ‘futuristic’ lasers working on Wavefront guided principles ensure very quick treatment time and faster visual recovery which is very important for people of today’s fast paced life.

Speed is important because a short treatment time benefits and adds to the comfort of the patient. A shortened exposure time allows for faster visual recovery and better outcome.

Perfectly accurate treatments do away with possibilities of errors such as glares and haloes that still exist today with older laser systems. Patients are now becoming increasingly aware of how technology is changing to give better results. No one wants to settle for ‘second-best’ when it comes to their vision, and the trend that eye doctors are seeing in their clinics is of young, well informed and techno-savvy patients who discuss not just the procedure and its outcomes but also great details regarding technology being applied.

Each of our eyes is different and has its unique shape and visual characteristics. Wavefront Guided LASIK develops individualized software treatment plans for each eye. Unlike the standard LASIK procedure which only corrects refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism) and routinely achieves 6/6 or 20/20 vision, Wavefront LASIK goes beyond just correcting refractive errors [spectacle powers] to actually improving visual capabilities so you may see better than you did with glasses or lenses before the procedure, hence improving your ‘Visual Acuity’.

The key to Wavefront treatment is a device called a Wavefront Analyzer or aberrometer. This projects a fine grid of 168 light beams onto the retina and captures its image using a high resolution camera. This image is then analyzed for errors and provides a “Wavefront Map” which is programmed into the laser.This means we can measure both the extent of poor vision and its causes with greater precision than it has ever been possible before.

With standard procedures there may be instances of unpredictable results where these subtle errors, instead of getting treated, are further magnified. This may sometimes lead to dissatisfaction after the standard procedure of LASIK. With wavefront-guided LASIK these errors can be corrected to achieve ideal results.

Thorough screenings for patient suitability includes tests like refraction, contrast sensitivity, pupil size, pupil reaction, retinal examination, tonometry, pachymetry, wavefront analysis, topolyzer measurements, topography and tests for dry eye amongst others.

“With such new technology we can offer various treatments which are customized for the person’s needs, numbers and age to give a precise result. Earlier laser technology did not allow much room to treat high myopia or hypermetropia safely. New laser systems have many safety features to make laser eye surgeries safe, stable and accurate. Considering our experience of 90 years in eye care, we chose to upgrade to the latest Wavefront technology, to be able to offer the best available in lasers today to our patients in India and from 101 countries the world over,” said Dr. Anand Shroff, of Shroff Eye, Mumbai.

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