Laser Eye Surgery (Retina Detachment)

The invention of the laser surgery was not a tedious and complicated one. But there were definitely spaces for trial and error as ophthalmologists Charles J. Campbell (1926-), H. Christian Zweng (1925-), Milton M. Zaret (1927-) and physicist Theodore Harold Maiman (1927-) learnt. The term “laser” is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The Ophthalmic surgery (eye surgery) was initially developed from the concentration of conventianal light by maginyfying glasses.

This inventions works as atoms are highly energized within a laser and when the atoms lose its energy in the form of light, it stimulates other atoms in close ranges to emit light of the same fequency and in the same direction. This domino effect produces a cascade of identical light waves which oscillates back and forth between the mirrors in the laser cavity. Only one of these mirrors are partially reflective, allowing some of the laser light produced to pass though and further concentrated into small burst of high intensity.

Theodore Harolf Maiman made his discovery of the first laser, public on July 7th 1960, and the ruby lasers haad been used for medical purposes shortly thereafter. The treatment of retinal tears with a pulsed ruby laser was the first substantial ophthalmic application of any laser system. In 1962, Zweng, along with several associates, discovered that a laser can be used to cause photocoagulation of a retinal tear by forming an adhesive scar.

As a result, despite the traction, the retina does not detach. But there was much space for improvement as the ruby laser could only serve as a prevention not a cure because it could be ineffective is a large area of the retina has detached calling for major retinal detachment surgery. Slowly, the argon laser, a beam composed of blue-green light that aim on the desired portion of the eye was more accurate than Maiman’s ruby laser was introduced.

Although the ruby laser was found highly effective in producing an adhesive scar, it was not useful int the treatment of vascualr diseases of the eye and although the argon laser was more precise and accurate, the beam could be absorbed by cataracts, vitreuos humor or retinal blood, rendering it less efective. To most people out there, laser eye surgery might just be a solution to the necessity of glasses.

But over the years, other lasers that were adapted and experimented with are carbon dioxide lasers for scleral surgery and eye wall resection, dye lasers for killing or slowing the growth of tumours, excimer lasers for their abilityto break down corneal tissue without heating, and pulsed erbium lasers used to cut intraocular membranes. Since many lasers use heat to perform, there is the new possibility of scalding injuries damaging the tissues in the eye. This is not a over large concern as the most commonly used excimer laser to ablate (reshape) the cornea does not use heating.

This method is far safer than scalpels that exposes the risks to scarring and infection as lasers minimize these incision risks. Opinions of whether or not laser eye surgery is best option usually depends on the patient and their needs. For example if one had a condition of refrative errors such as Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness) or Astigmatism (a combination of both Myopia and Hyperopia), there are a few pros and cons to the decision. There are a few types of surgeries to overcome these errors- PRK, Blade LASIK and Blade Free LASIK.

PRK would have a long recovery time but range at a lower cost, Blade LASIK could result in a abormally cut open flap in the cornea allowing complications of cell growth to take place but also range at a lower cost and Blade Free LASIK would have a higher safety and outcome insurance and have a short recovery period but is double the price of PRK and Blade LASIK surgeries. Another example would be experiencing a tear in the retina, surgery wouldn’t be much of an option for if the tear is not treated as soon as possible, it might lead to complete vision loss.

Here gathered are some information on retinal detachment collected from an interview with a patient. The surgery mainly involves reattaching the retina back to its position – the back of the eye – sealing any breaks or holes causing the detachment. It is important to remove any fluid collected beneath the retina as it can weaken the attachment. The retina is a layer of wall made up of rods and cones cells which are light-sensitive. They are used detect shape, colour and pattern. This wall is attached to the choroid on its outer side, which is rich in blood vessels.

The retina is pressed back against it by a jelly like substance called the vitreous humor. Symptoms of a retinal tear might be the sensation of flashing lights in the affected eye. Showers of dark blood clots (‘floaters’) and blurred vision can happen due to the bleeding into the vitreous humor. The effects of a dark shadow of a curtain or veil may be visible as the retina detaches and if not treated immediately, can progress to complete vision impairment. This particular patient whose name he did not want to disclose, has undergone a surgery once before when his retina first detached.

The surgery involved in inserting silicone oil in the scelera acting as a outward compression just like the virteuos humor. This ensures that the retina heals properly, uncreased and well. He will be receiving another treatment shortly to remove this excess silicon oil from inside his eyes, also eliminating the foggy images he has been putting up with in the past month as he recovered. Laser eye surgery has made it possible for the part of the population who needs vision correction, to see things differently, in a literal way.

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