The University Record, June 19, 1995

Laser eye surgery makes debut at Medical Center

The excimer laser, already used with promising results in Canada, Australia, Germany and elsewhere to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism, has arrived at the Medical Center.

The Kellogg Eye Center is the only center in Michigan and one of 20 nationwide testing the latest model--the Chiron TECHNOLAS Keracor 116 -- for the treatment of corneal scarring and mild-to-moderate myopia (nearsightedness).

The use of the laser to treat superficial corneal scarring, caused by several types of eye disease, began last fall; studies to treat nearsightedness are now beginning.

In myopia, the problem generally stems from the eye being too long from front to back. As a result, the eye's optical system focuses distant images in front of the retina, causing blurred vision. With glasses, contacts or any type of corrective surgery, the object is to refocus the image directly onto the retina, a light-sensitive membrane that functions like camera film at the back of the eye.

The excimer laser accomplishes this task by using a focused beam of ultraviolet light to shave thin layers of cells from the cornea's surface, thus flattening the cornea and moving the focus back onto the retina. The outpatient procedure takes a short time and is performed under mild sedatives and topical anesthetics. Most patients can resume their normal activities within a day or two.

"Studies so far show that with the laser, 90--95 percent of the time the desired amount of correction is achieved by one procedure," says corneal surgeon Roger F. Meyer, professor of ophthalmology.