What is femtosecond laser surgery?
The femtosecond laser in corneal refractive surgery is a device with an infrared wavelength of great precision, which works in millionths of a second. It does not cut the tissues, but separates them by supplying minimum doses of energy to produce a disruption between the cells. Another of its characteristics is its extreme precision without cutting or heat transfer to adjacent cells, since it uses infrared light to separate molecules. Femtosecond lasers reproduce with micrometer precision the micro-incisions previously designed by the surgeon, and therefore do not depend so directly on the manual dexterity of the ophthalmologist, increasing the safety, speed and precision of the surgery.
What technical advances have there been in this regard in recent years?
Femtosecond lasers have evolved indisputably in the last 10 years. We started with Intralase, the first femtosecond laser worldwide, the first was the Intralase 15, then the Intralase 30, followed by the Intralase 60 and now the latest generation, the Intralase 150, which, in addition to performing bladeless flaps or microkeratomes, makes it possible to perform intrastromal tunnels to implant intracorneal rings, to perform intrastromal tunnels to implant intracorneal rings in cases of keratoconus or other corneal ectasia, pockets to implant microlenses such as Kamra for the treatment of presbyopia, as well as the possibility of performing lamellar or penetrating corneal transplants.
What pathologies can be solved?
It represents a considerable advance in corneal refractive surgery to treat cases of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, as well as many cases of presbyopia linked to these refractive defects in patients over 40 years of age.
Is it a 100% effective treatment?
With femtosecond lasers, all the possible problems derived from the use of microkeratome blades have been eliminated. It is a much more precise surgery, offers better refractive results, increases the safety of the intervention and standardizes the procedure, avoiding irregular flaps, incomplete flaps, flaps of excessive diameter or depth, off-center flaps, as well as traumatic defects in the corneal epithelium.
What care should the patient take after the procedure?
After surgery the patient should rest, avoid contact with water for five days, not rub or touch the area for a week and use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for the same period of time. We also recommend sun protection with sunglasses, outdoors during the first two or three months.
As in any surgical procedure, the patient’s collaboration and active participation in the recovery period is necessary. There is usually a significant improvement in vision within the first 24 hours postoperatively. However, the progression of vision may be slow and is also likely to fluctuate from day to day, which is normal.
The patient who has undergone eye surgery of this type, has to take some precautions to prevent injury or infection during the postoperative period, such as:
- Avoid getting soap in the eyes during showering for at least one week after surgery.
- Avoid getting products such as hairspray or aftershaves in the eyes during recovery from Lasik eye surgery.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Do not let tap water get into your eyes for at least one week after surgery.
- Do not swim for at least 30 – 40 days after surgery.
- Do not wear eye makeup for at least 3 to 4 weeks.
- No exercise for two days after surgery.
In addition, if you have any questions after refractive surgery or if you experience pain, loss of vision, red eyes or unusual eye discharge, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately.