Further information on the different laser eye treatment methods
A proven technique for more than 35 years, refractive surgery includes all eye treatments to correct vision problems.
After the operation, the patient can do without the daily use of glasses or contact lenses depending on the type of treatment chosen.
Refractive surgery is intended for any patient from the age of 20 with stabilised vision and suffering from myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and/or presbyopia.
There are currently four different treatments (SMILE, Femto-Lasik, PRK, ICL implant), the most suitable for the patient being determined during the consultation with the doctor.
As part of the laser procedure, the high-energy light pulses of the laser remove part of the cornea in order to change its shape and curvature in such a way that the refractive power – refraction – is corrected and the refractive error is remedied.
Refractive surgery is a proven technique. The term refractive surgery refers to those eye operations that change the overall refractive power of the eye and therefore replace conventional optical corrections such as glasses or contact lenses or at least significantly reduce their required strength.
Whether or not laser eye surgery is an option depends, among other things, on the thickness of the patient's cornea and whether or not the cornea is too soft due to a congenital defect. The human cornea only measures about half a millimetre in the centre of the eyeball, and a little more at the edge. It is important that, during a surgical procedure, which involves cutting directly into the cornea, a cornea of approximately 300 micrometres thick remains. This thickness corresponds to just over half of the original cornea thickness. These measurements must be taken into account at all costs, because if too much cornea is removed, this can subsequently lead to wound healing disorders or even bulging, which can lead to a deterioration of vision. The patient’s age and any pre-existing conditions also play a role in determining whether the person affected is ultimately eligible for the laser eye treatment procedure.
It makes sense to carry out laser eye surgery in adulthood and then only if the patient’s vision has remained stable in the one to two years prior to the planned procedure, i.e. it has not changed.
Other exclusion criteria for laser eye treatment may be acute eye inflammation or dry eyes. This refractive surgical method weakens the cornea. If the patient has diseases accompanied by wound healing disorders and inflammatory reactions (e.g. diabetes, autoimmune or connective tissue disorders), laser eye surgery should also be avoided.
More and more people are now undergoing laser eye treatment to ensure good long-term vision without contact lenses or glasses. The success rate of the laser procedure is high – in most cases, the result of the correction is permanent – and for many patients, the outcome of the procedure is quite impressive.
In rare cases, where laser treatment did not achieve the desired results, a new laser eye correction procedure is recommended.
However, the laser eye treatment procedure is not suitable for everyone; it is essential that all necessary preliminary examinations are carried out by a specialist before a possible procedure and that all advantages and disadvantages are explained and weighed up in detail.
It is important to choose the right treatment method or laser procedure for each visual impairment. In principle, a distinction is made between the following five procedures:
Laser eye surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia. It takes about 30 minutes. The patient is lies down while the ophthalmologist sits behind him/her. The eye that is not being treated is covered – at the same time, the patient looks at what is known as a fixation light with the eye being treated. The laser is also equipped with a corresponding system to track the position of the eyes and to compensate effectively for unintentional eye movements.
With the help of light pulses, the laser removes the pre-calculated corneal tissue with high precision and corrects the refractive error or corneal irregularity.
As with any other operation, laser eye surgery can lead to side effects such as sand grain sensations or photophobia. It is advisable not to touch or rub the eye for optimum wound healing. Other undesirable side effects may be infections that require medication.