A super-fast and high-tech laser developed for use in eye surgery can allow patients to have better vision and a faster recovery, the initial results of a two-year pilot program being run at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center indicate.
The Femtosecond Laser Assisted Keratoplasty (FLAK) study is based on the use of the ultrafast or femtosecond laser in performing full thickness corneal transplants.
"We hope that with the use of the femtosecond laser, patients will have better vision, faster recovery of vision, and stronger wound construction, which will allow them to be more resistant to injury in the future," says Dr. Shahzad I. Mian, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Kellogg, and principle investigator of the FLAK study.
"The advantage of this laser is that it allows the surgeon to focus the laser energy at a particular depth and then rapidly cut the tissue at that depth without causing any additional injury to the surrounding tissue. It also allows the surgeon to pattern these cuts into shapes - such as a mushroom, a top hat or a zig zag - that allow for better customized overlap between the donor's corneal tissue and the patient's corneal tissue," the researcher adds.
Mian says that the study results for corneal transplant surgery have been very encouraging to date due to the speed and precision of the femtosecond laser.
According to him, if the results hold true, a larger, multi-center clinical trial comparing this procedure to the traditional method of performing transplants could follow.