Laser refractive surgery for myopia

Dr. Artiaga is a specialist at the Oftalvist Ophthalmology Clinic who is an expert in the treatment of myopia using innovative procedures. He explains that laser refractive surgery is a good option to treat myopia definitively.

Myopia is the refractive defect that prevents us from seeing distant objects well and near objects with difficulty as a result of focusing images in front of the retina.

It is such a frequent problem that it affects 30% of the western population, a considerably higher percentage in Asian countries.

To determine the thickness and shape of the cornea, an eye examination should be performed. 98%-99% of patients with up to 8 diopters can be operated without problems by laser refractive surgery. From that graduation, it is possible to operate with a phakic intraocular lens, very safe and with great results.

Laser technique

Lasik (laser in situ keratomileusis) is the most widespread technique in refractive surgery today. First of all, the surgery is always performed under topical anesthesia, that is, with surface anesthesia through the application of an anesthetic eye drop. This eliminates any discomfort that may occur during surgery, while allowing full collaboration during the surgical procedure, which is necessary for the correct centering of the laser application.

Then, the patient lies down on the laser table where a special separator is placed so that the eyes remain open during the entire procedure.

A thin layer of the cornea (flap) similar to a contact lens is then lifted using the femtosecond laser (Intralase), a process that takes about 15 seconds. In most centers, the lifting of the corneal flap is still performed with a high-precision microkeratome or blade. At Oftalvist we have replaced the use of these mechanical microkeratomes with a Femtosecond laser (Intralase), which gives us greater precision and safety when performing the flap and, therefore, 100% laser surgery.

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Subsequently, the Excimer laser acts on the deep layers of the cornea, modifying its curvature and thus correcting the pre-existing refractive defect. Finally, the corneal flap is repositioned and fixed on its own, without the need for stitches.

Recovery after surgery

Visual acuity is close to 100% the following day in most cases, and the patient can return to work in 48-72 hours. The effect of the laser is, in principle, permanent, although some patients’ myopia may increase with the passage of time. It should be noted that wearing glasses, contact lenses, not wearing anything or having laser surgery does not affect the number of diopters.