Microscopy assisted Lasik
Microscopy is more popular than ever. In the 20 years that LASIK eye surgery has been FDA approved, more than 10 million people have invested in better vision. A bioengineering research team at the University of Maryland is developing a new form of microscopy that could be a game changer. Their research was published in Physical Review Letters.
Even with the use of microscopy during LASIK, eye surgeons still estimate the refractive properties of the eye, using the patient’s acuity – that is how close a person comes to having 20/20 vision without glasses.
As research teams work to create new microscopy techniques, the University of Maryland’s Department of Bioengineering, is finding a resolution to make this technology even more precise. They have developed a technique that would allow doctors to perform LASIK using precise measurements of how the eye focuses light.
Assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Guiliano Scarcelli, says this could be a big first for LASIK. “Light is focused by the eye’s cornea because of its shape and what is known as refractive index. But until now, we could only measure its shape.”
Microscopy procedures can fix common eye problems like near and farsightedness. What needs to be repaired? The cornea. A doctor reshapes it to improve the sharpness of a person’s vision. Right now, doctors are altering the shape without the ability to exactly measure how much the path of light is bent when it hits the cornea.
In order to measure the path light takes to hit the eye, the refractive index needs to be measured. Refractive index is a number that defines how fast light spreads through a material. By mapping the distribution and variations of the local refractive index within the eye, doctors would know the exact degree of corneal refraction.
With this information, doctors would be better equipped to customize a LASIK procedure to each individual patient. An eye surgeon could then be confident in telling a person they could walk away with perfect vision.
Scarcelli says a doctor might not even have to cut into the cornea anymore. “Non-ablative technologies are already being developed to change the refractive index of the cornea, locally, using a laser.” His team at the University of Maryland developed a microscopy technique using Brillouin spectroscopy. This is a light-scattering technology that was formerly used to sense the mechanical property of tissue and cells without disrupting or destroying either. Theoretically, by using this technology, they are able to directly determine the refractive index.
Microscopy assisted Lasik is still just a theory, but it is a great example of how Lasik technology is constantly expanding and developing. It is important to choose an eye surgeon that is up-to-date on the latest Lasik procedures, such as Drs Dello Russo who provide patients with no-blade Lasik. Book a consultation with the team by calling 1(866) 776-6891.