What is laser eye surgery and which laser procedure is right for my eyes?
What is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a procedure that reshapes the cornea in your eye using ultraviolet light pulses. These pulses are computer-controlled and precise. In fact the laser is so precise, it can remove fractions of a micron (1/1000 of a millimetre) of tissue with each pulse.
The computer specialist software allows us to calculate, with micron precision, the number of pulses required and their pattern to correct a specific refractive error by reshaping, or re-sculpting, the cornea.
Different types of procedures
Laser eye surgery goes under many names – you may even know it by the common American term, Lasik. Essentially, these procedures all perform the same task and there should be no difference in the result; however, each type of laser procedure has both advantages and disadvantages.
During our rigorous assessment process, we will assess and discuss with you the laser treatment that is most suitable for your eyes, taking into account your personal history, exact measurements and precise calculations.
Lasik stands for ‘laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis’. During Lasik a self-sealing flap is made using the Keratome or the IntraLase laser, and the treatment is then applied under the self-sealing flap. Patients sometimes experience discomfort during the laser procedure, but not once the procedure is completed.
Lasik without a flap: PRK, Lasek and PRK
Advanced PRK, Lasek and Advanced Laser Surface Ablation (ALSA) are all surface treatments referred to as ‘Lasik without a flap’, which means no incision is made. Instead, the laser treatment is applied directly under the soft material (known as the epithelium) that covers the front surface of the eye.
There are many minor variations in how the soft material is handled: if the soft material is completely removed, then the procedure is called Advanced PRK (photorefractive keratectomy); if it’s softened or partially removed, the procedure is called ALSA; if it is replaced, the technique is called Lasek; if the soft material is loosened with a machine, then it is called Epi-Lasik.
With Lasik without a flap, there is virtually no discomfort during the laser procedure, but most patients feel some discomfort for a short period after their treatment.
We believe Lasik without a flap or ALSA gives patients the best quality of vision. With ALSA there is fewer reported cases of dry eye syndrome and no flap complications.
Smile, or small incision lenticule extraction, is sometimes referred to as ‘keyhole laser eye surgery’ and is used mainly as a treatment for short-sightedness (myopia). We do not use the Smile laser at Medownick Laser Eye Clinic, as the results aren’t as good or as predictable as with an Excimer laser. Smile does not adequately treat astigmatism as the lasers do not have an eye-tracking capabilities.
Robotic laser eye surgery
Patients at Medownick Laser Eye Clinic may be suitable for robotic laser eye surgery. The latest advancements in technology now allow doctors to perform laser eye surgery without the need for any instruments or contact with the eye, with the exception of a small device that keeps the eyelids apart). There is no pressure or suction on the eye, no blocking of the vision, and no instruments – sharp or blunt – will touch the cornea. It is a gentle, no-touch, no-incision, no-cut laser procedure, which means less stress for patients. It also allows us to treat presbyopia for ageing eyes.
Dr Mark Medownick believes that the robotic laser eye surgery used at Medownick will supersede the need for Lasik surgery altogether, as the new technology will give patients improved comfort and precision, maximum safety and a better quality outcome for their vision.
Excimer laser: Why Medownick uses the Schwind 1050RSL Excimer Laser
While different lasers are available to treat your eye condition, at Medownick in Melbourne we use a state-of-the-art sixth-generation Excimer Laser. The first of its kind in Australia, the special limited-edition Schwind 1050RSL Excimer Laser has a premium configuration capable of performing robotic laser eye surgery. This laser makes it possible to take human sight beyond 20/20 vision by customising every treatment to the patient’s individual prescription and cornea, allowing us to achieve excellent clinical results. It is considered the safest, most effective Excimer Laser currently available, and comes with an amazing 7D eye tracker.
New technology ensures safe and precise work at high speed. Each ultra-thin laser pulse is used to sculpt the corneal surface of the eye with the utmost accuracy, while the high-speed 7D eye tracker follows the eye’s fastest movements.
The laser is the newest and the fastest laser system in Victoria – and worldwide. On average, your laser eye surgery will take only six seconds of laser time, and you will require only a topical anaesthetic in the form of eye drops.
At Medownick, we combine our state-of-the-art equipment with the sharpest attention to detail in laser calibration, maintenance and technician quality, and Dr Mark Medownick’s extensive knowledge, vast experience and specialisation in laser eye surgery, producing the highly accurate results that Medownick is known for.
Next: How is robotic laser eye surgery performed at Medownick in Melbourne?
Laser eye surgery is an investment in you. It’s why we offer interest-free payment plans over six, 12 or 18 months to suitable candidates.