What does it involve?
It is the most precise laser that currently exists in eye surgery and represents one of the latest great technological advances in ophthalmology, thanks to its speed and safety.
This laser works at a millionth of a second and reproduces the micro-incisions the surgeon has previously designed by computer, with micrometric precision, to which it is connected. It therefore does not depend so much on the ophthalmologist’s manual skills and the results are more predictable.
Another distinguishing feature of the femtosecond laser is its reversibility, as it splits the tissue by placing minimum doses of energy to produce a disruption between the cells. Hence, it uses infrared light to avoid cutting with burns or heat transfer to the cornea. Despite all of these advantages, it is not recommended or is not the best option for certain patients.
In which cases is it used?
In terms of refractive surgery, the femtosecond laser has allowed for the development of new techniques such as Relex SMILE, which uses this laser exclusively to correct myopia and astigmatism through a micro-incision of barely 2 mm (without the need to open a circular layer on the surface of the cornea). It has also contributed towards selective cornea transplant techniques such as DMEK, in which only the thin Descemet's membrane and the endothelium (layer behind the cornea) are replaced.
Furthermore, the advantages of the femtosecond laser have also been used in cataract surgery, perfecting and standardising the traditional procedure through ultrasound phacoemulsification. The new mechanism allows for more precise incisions, reduces the risk of infection, improves the positioning of the intraocular lens and makes the correction of astigmatism associated to this surgery more foreseeable. As a result, it is especially recommended in certain complex cases, such as congenital and juvenile or post-trauma cataracts.
Prior examinations will depend on the surgery in which the laser is used.