Laser refractive surgery corrects imperfections that affect vision such as myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia or astigmatism. Increasingly popular, this surgical procedure is performed in a few minutes, under local anesthesia. Explanations with Drs. Arthur Ferrero and Julien Douat, ophthalmologists at the Clinique de l’Union (Ramsay Santé), located in Saint-Jean (Haute-Garonne).
Refraction is a phenomenon characterized by the passage of light from one medium to another. When light enters the eye, it passes from the atmosphere inside the eye, therefore it changes medium and consequently undergoes this phenomenon of refraction. In case of visual disturbances, the eye is unable to focus correctly and therefore perceives more or less blurred images. Then it carries the so-called “refractive” defects. Refractive disorders are more commonly known as myopia (distance vision defect), hyperopia (near vision defect), presbyopia (difficulty seeing up close), and astigmatism (distance and near vision defect).
Refractive laser surgery, for whom?
Refractive laser surgery is especially indicated for the treatment of myopia, astigmatism, presbyopia or hyperopia, when the patient’s visual disturbance has been stable for at least two years. Quick and painless, the operation consists of using a laser (Lasik, the most widely used, or PKR, less invasive) to modify the curvature of the cornea, thus improving the way the eye focuses images. “The main objective of this operation is to allow patients to stop wearing glasses or contact lenses”says Dr. Ferrero.
However, this type of surgery is contraindicated in patients under 18 years of age. “as well as in patients suffering from some ocular pathology: malformation of the cornea, cornea that is too thin or irregular, glaucoma, retinal disease…”adds the specialist.
The course of refractive laser surgery
During refractive surgery, the ophthalmologist applies anesthetic eye drops to the affected eye. Then, he directs the patient to a team where he will receive a first laser beam (in order to prepare the eye for refractive treatment) and then a second, aimed at correcting the vision disorder.
During refractive surgery, the movement of the eye is analyzed throughout the process by a system that guarantees that the laser will be applied in the correct place, “even when the eye is in motion, which guarantees excellent results and makes the surgery safer”ophthalmologists detail.
The time of the procedure can vary according to the degree of correction of each individual but, on average, the total duration of the intervention is twenty minutes for both eyes. After the operation, the patient can go directly home.
Postoperative follow-up after refractive surgery
The postoperative period is not incapacitating. After the procedure, patients often experience temporary dry eyes that are treated by applying eye drops. “The perception of light halos is also possible in an ad hoc way”says Dr. Julien Douat. Patients can usually resume their daily activities after a week of convalescence.
Vision may fluctuate for a few months after surgery, especially after PRK. This is due to the remodeling of the cornea caused by the laser.
It should also be emphasized that any surgical procedure carries risks. In the case of refractive laser, the latter are minimal since before the operation a detailed preoperative evaluation is carried out with several explorations that guarantee the efficacy and safety of the procedure.
A new eye laser at the Clinique de l’Union
Since 2021, the Clinique de l’Union has been equipped with the laboratory’s WaveLight® laser system falcon. This equipment incorporates state-of-the-art technology to guarantee a more reliable, faster and safer treatment. Its superior speed, its multidimensional vision manager, its laser precision and its online pachymetry (which measures the thickness of the cornea) allow ophthalmologists to perform increasingly qualitative refractive surgeries. “It also significantly reduces recovery time and improves postoperative results”says Dr Julien Douat.
The arrival of this laser within the health establishment corresponds to the arrival of Dr. Arthur Ferrero and will soon allow the reception of several other ophthalmic surgeons.