The Excimer Laser is an ultraviolet laser. It utilizes both argon and fluoride gas to create a non-thermal, or "cool" beam of laser light. This beam can break molecular bonds in a process commonly referred to as "photoablation." The laser literally vaporizes microscopic bits of tissue without burning the adjacent tissue; therefore, it is ideally suited for the treatment of the cornea. The laser system harnesses the excimer laser beam and allows precise delivery of the laser to sculpt the cornea into a new shape. The easiest way of understanding what the laser does is to think of a pair of glasses or contacts. All lenses have a curvature that allows us to focus on an image. The excimer laser simply reshapes the cornea to improve the focusing power of the eye by imprinting the lens prescription onto the cornea.
The doctors at Cornea Associates of Texas use the VISX Star S4 excimer laser system. Since its approval by the FDA, the VISX system has remained at the forefront of the refractive surgery field. The Star S4 hardware upgrade has many advantages over other laser systems. These advances in the S4 system include ActiveTrak and VariableSpot technology.
ActiveTrak is an eye tracking system that prevents the laser from firing should the patient's eye move during the LASIK procedure. It also compensates automatically for minor eye movement during the laser treatment by keeping the laser beam on target with the line of sight. This ensures a smooth and properly aligned laser treatment to optimize the visual results. ActiveTrak has several advantages over other laser eye tracking systems. It does not require a dilated pupil, making the treatment more comfortable, and it tracks the eye in all three dimensions (namely axes x, right-to-left, y, up-and-down, and z, back-and-forth).
VariableSpot technology improves control of the laser beam. The Star S4 utilizes 7 laser spots simultaneously to perform the treatment (photo 2). The size of the spots varies from 0.6 to 6.5 mm in diameter during the ablation. The shape also varies from round (myopia), ellipse (astigmatism) or offset (hyperopia). This VariableSpot provides for rapid laser treatment and an exquisitely smooth surface, which means improved visual outcome.
The Star S4 continuously has software upgrades to improve the delivery treatment. One recent valuable upgrade incorporates a "blend zone" into the treatment. This blend zone effectively increases the optical zone of treatment from a previous maximum of 6.5 mm to 8.0 mm in diameter. This is especially useful in patients with large pupils, who might experience nighttime halo or glare from a smaller treatment size. VariableSpot scanning performs this treatment without significantly increasing ablation depth. This is truly an advantage over other excimer laser platforms.
The VISX Star S4 provides for safety, versatility and patient comfort, which is why the Star S4 is currently the most popular excimer laser system among refractive surgeons and why more people in the United States have been treated with the VISX laser than all other laser systems combined. The doctors at Cornea Associates of Texas have selected the VISX Star S4 laser for their patients because their own commitment to excellence is matched by VISX's commitment to remain at the technology forefront.
To learn more about the VISX Star S4 laser, please contact us today.