Laser Eye Surgery | Severna Park


By Allan Rutzen, MD, FACS l Rutzen Eye Specialists & Laser Center

In the field of ophthalmology, we use lasers for many types of eye surgery. You may have heard of laser vision correction surgery to improve a person’s vision to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. There are other types of laser eye surgery, including laser cataract surgery, glaucoma procedures, retinal treatments, and other laser procedures.

More lasers are used in ophthalmology than in any other medical specialty. This is because the eye is particularly suited for laser treatment because we can transmit laser light into the eye through the transparent cornea and lens to treat the inside of the eye. By focusing the laser on the surface or inside of the eye, various conditions can be treated.

As an ophthalmologist, patients often ask me: “Will my surgery be done by laser or with conventional surgery?” »Not all types of surgery can be done with a laser. In fact, some surgeries are best done with conventional surgery and others are well suited for laser surgery.

Lasers are used to deliver light energy in a very precise manner. Lasers produce light of a single wavelength rather than light that includes all the colors of the spectrum, such as sunlight. Lasers can emit visible light (for example, green or red) or invisible light (infrared or ultraviolet light).

Lasers are used in two main ways: 1) to cut or vaporize tissue and 2) to heat tissue. Many eye conditions can be treated with laser surgery.

Vision correction eye surgery

Lasers that cut or vaporize tissue can be used to reshape the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, during surgeries such as LASIK and other forms of laser vision correction. By reshaping the cornea, the light rays are focused on the retina for better vision without glasses or contact lenses.

Laser cataract surgery

Cataract surgery involves removing a cloudy natural lens and implanting an artificial lens. In cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist can perform some steps with a laser and some steps manually. Lasers can be used for many of the important steps in cataract surgery – creating the incisions, adjusting the astigmatism, opening up the membrane that surrounds the cataract lens, and breaking the cataract into softer, smaller pieces. Manual surgery is then used to remove the lens pieces and implant the artificial lens.

Correction of blurred vision after cataract surgery

Months or years after cataract surgery, a cloudy membrane may develop behind the lens of the implant, making vision blurry. A laser can be used to create a clear opening in this membrane to improve vision.

Glaucoma procedures

Glaucoma is a disease that can cause vision loss due to pressure in the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. Several laser procedures can be performed for glaucoma. Some decrease the pressure in the eye by opening up the drainage channels in the eye. Other lasers are used to create a microscopic hole in the iris to allow fluid in the eye to flow from the back to the front of the eye.

Retinal laser procedures

The retina is a thin layer of nerves that line the back of the eye and send visual images to the brain. Some retinal lasers can be used to seal a ruptured retina or a small retinal detachment in a technique that works like spot welding. Lasers can also be used to close leaky retinal blood vessels in conditions such as diabetes and macular degeneration.

If you have a condition that could be treated with laser, your eye doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you. Even with the use of these high tech tools, the skill of your ophthalmologist is what matters most.

Dr Allan Rutzen is an ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical conditions of the front of the eye. He has particular expertise in laser-assisted cataract surgery. If you have any questions or would like an eye exam, call Rutzen Eye Specialists & Laser Center at 410-975-0090 for an appointment. His office is located in Severna Park at 489 Ritchie Highway, Suite 200. Visit online at for more information.

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