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Today it is difficult to imagine eye surgery without a laser. It is sterile and precise. In a fraction of a second, it eliminates the targeted cells - the damaged tissue simply evaporates. No blood, no damage to adjacent tissues. It can correct eye defects, treat cataracts, glaucoma and retinal diseases. And for the procedure, it is usually enough to anesthetize the eye with drops.
Laser glaucoma treatment
Glaucoma can also lead to vision loss. Although it cannot be completely cured, the changes can be stopped or progressed much slower. The idea is to lower the intraocular pressure. Eye drops are usually used first to reduce the production of aqueous humor or increase its outflow. However, if the disease is rapid or the drops do not work, a laser can help. In open-angle glaucoma, laser trabeculoplasty is performed - the holes in the outflow of the fluid are widened, which lowers the pressure in the eye. In the treatment of closed-angle glaucoma, laser iridomy is used. It consists in making holes in the iris of the eye so that, even with a dilated pupil, when the outflow path is closed, the aqueous fluid can drain through these additional holes.
Laser treatment of changes in the retina
If it weren't for the laser, the vision loss caused by changes in the retina of the eye would not be able to stop. Most often these are changes related to diabetes. Initially, the disease damages the fine vessels of the retina, resulting in ischemic areas. This results in vascular proliferation accompanied by recurrent bleeding and retinal detachment. The appearance of changes indicating the beginning of retinal hypoxia, which may lead to the formation of new abnormal vessels and vitreous haemorrhages in the future, is an indication for laser therapy. In the case of minor changes, focal photocoagulation is performed, the purpose of which is to directly destroy the damaged fragments of the fundus vascular system. For more advanced lesions, diffuse photocoagulation is used.
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Types of lasers used in ophthalmology
Depending on the type of surgery and the part of the eye to be treated, lasers of different wavelengths are used. The argon laser, the anterior segment of the eye - the yag laser, the cornea - excimer and femtosecond lasers are used for retinal surgery due to complications of diabetes and vascular diseases. Most treatments are performed with an excimer laser. It is used for treatments correcting myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
Laser cataract removal
Cataracts gradually but inevitably lead to vision loss. The only effective therapy is the surgical replacement of the natural but cloudy lens with an artificial one. The method commonly used today is phacoemulsification. A probe is inserted through an incision in the cornea (2-3 mm) and the cloudy lens is broken with ultrasound, gently sucked out of the eye, and an artificial, foldable lens is placed in its place, which immediately after insertion takes the correct shape. The newest, very precise technique that is just spreading is femtophacoemulsification. During the procedure, the scalpel and the surgeon's hand are replaced by a laser that makes ports in the cornea for insertion of tools, separating the cloudy lens from other eye tissues with perfect accuracy and then breaking it. Then the surgeon introduces the tools through the ports, removes the fragmented lens and replaces it with an artificial one. Just like after phacoemulsification, no sutures are required after the laser procedure, because the wound itself closes tightly under the pressure inside the eyeball.monthly "Zdrowie"