New Laser for LASIK Eye Surgery Successful

Sunday, April 20, 2008

LASIK eye surgery is typically carried out with Excimer laser. Excimer lasers are extremely precise, but they are also costly and expensive to maintain, which primarily accounts for the high cost of LASIK surgery.

Researchers are looking into the possibility of using a new type of lasers for LASIK surgery and other laser vision correction procedures. One such laser is a solid-state refractive laser called the Pulzar Z1, developed by CustomVis (Perth, Australia).

The Pulzar solid-state laser uses a slightly different wavelength of light to reshape the cornea, compared to the excimer laser (213 nm vs 193 nm). Because these longer wavelength beams are closer to the peak absorption of corneal collagen, it's possible that the solid state laser may be more efficient at ablating corneal tissue than the excimer laser and may be able to created smoother ablations. The ablations performed by the solid-state laser also appear to be less affected by the amount of water in and on the cornea during surgery.

The solid-state instrument does not require toxic gases to operate, it's more energy efficient than an excimer laser, and it requires less maintenance.

In a small scale study with Pulzar solid-state laser for treatment of high degree of astigmatism, CustomVis found:
1. 100% of the eyes were 20/30 or better
2. 80% of the eyes were 20/25 or better
3. 30% of the eyes were 20/20

"There were no complications, and patient satisfaction was very high," reported CustomVis clinical manager Tarak A. Pujara, M.D.

The Pulzar Z1 solid-state laser is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by LASIK surgeons in the U.S., but CustomVis may start the FDA approval process by the end of this year or in early 2008, according to Dr. Pujara.

Source: Ophthalmology Times; Vol 32, No 19, Oct 1, 2007 via Eye-zine.

1. LASIK is an acronym for laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, a kind of laser eye surgery designed to change the shape of the cornea to eliminate or reduce the need for glasses and contact lenses in cases of severe myopia ( nearsightedness ).

2. Excimer laser procedure is a key part of LASIK (Laser in Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), both of which permanently re-shape the cornea using an ultraviolet excimer laser. The hallmark of this heatless, pulsed laser etching of tissue is the absence of thermal damage, which means living tissue can heal with virtually no scarring.


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