Eyes are one of the most sensitive and delicate organs in the body, making them difficult to operate on. Eye surgery, also known as ocular surgery, utilizes multiple types of tools and procedures; each one serving a unique purpose. The technology in the field of ocular surgery has leaped strides over the past few decades, and with the development of multiple types of ophthalmic lasers. To the common person, all the lasers seem to look and act the same but that is not true. Lasers can create holes, cut (LASIK), or even create burns to treat retinal tears.
Types of Ophthalmic Lasers
- Green Laser – The two main types of “green lasers” used in laser photocoagulation treatment are Argon and Diode lasers. Argon lasers preceded Diode, so the new technology is essentially a doubled diode frequency YAG laser. There are multiple uses of the green laser in ocular surgery. Retinal photocoagulation to stop bleeding in the retina, Endo photocoagulation, macular treatment, laser trabeculoplasty for glaucoma treatment, and combined with a laser indirect ophthalmoscope for photocoagulation. The 532nm green laser will require less energy and cause less damage to the surrounding tissue than the Argon 514nm laser previously used. Common terminology used to describe the green laser is solid state, diode pumped, frequency doubled Nd-Yag, or 532 green laser.
- YAG Laser – The YAG laser is used in ophthalmology to dissect the posterior capsule of the eye in cases of a secondary cataract after cataract surgery, dissection of the pupil’s membrane in aphakic or pseudoaphakic patients, and to create a hole in the iris for glaucoma patients. This is one of the most common lasers used in ocular surgeries. The primary use of the YAG laser is as a secondary tool used to treat patients who had complications with their first cataract surgery.
- Combo Laser – As technology continues to advance, the tools for optical surgery become more efficient, portable, and safe. The two most prominent types of lasers used in the majority of optical surgeries today are the YAG and Green Lasers. They have specific purposes that are unique to each individual’s medical condition, but their technology is not all that different. Because of the similarities, the two lasers were able to be combined into one easy to use device. The best of both devices are now available from one easy to use tool that is fully adjustable from .3-10mJ. One important benefits of this combo laser is that more types of glaucoma patients can be treated from one machine.