"We're trying to improve upon something where people already come out and say, "Wow, I've never seen that well." We're learning how to make an extremely effective surgery even better," says MacRae, professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"While fixing traits like near-sightedness and astigmatism are still the fundamentals, now we're able to improve on problems that in the old days we didn't even know existed," MacRae comments the progress of his research in laser surgery.
Geunyoung Yoon, Ph.D., a colleague who works closely with MacRae, has untangled how the laser can affect spherical aberration, which can cause blurry vision and sometimes results in patients seeing halos around lights at night. The team found that increasing the area of the "treatment zone" on the eye reduces this side effect dramatically.
In a recent study, MacRae's team got its best results when the tracking device used to position the laser was within 200 microns of the most desirable spot. Better tracking devices in recent years have helped physicians position the beam precisely, MacRae says, reducing in patients the amount of coma, whose effect on vision can rival that of a bad case of astigmatism.
Careful manipulation of the flap of the cornea that is cut during surgery is more crucial than was previously thought to achieve the best vision possible. MacRae has found that keeping the area dry during surgery helps prevent swelling that can make it difficult for a surgeon to bring the cornea back together meticulously.
"The bottom line is that if you use state-of-the-art techniques and you choose your patients carefully, you should get outstanding results. While most of our patients are ecstatic with the results, the field is so young that there are constantly discoveries that should improve patients' vision even more," says MacRae.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Rochester Medical Center