Leading-Edge Technology Enhances Retinal Surgery

January 13, 2009

A child’s smile. The pages of a favorite book. A vivid orange-red sunset. These are just a few of the images that enrich our lives. Sight is a gift we all want to preserve. Fortunately, as Howard S. Lazarus, MD, ophthalmologist and fellowship trained medical and surgical retinal specialist explained, “The variety and types of eye disorders that we can treat have expanded and the effectiveness of our treatments has improved markedly in recent years.” One area in which these advancements have made a major difference is retinal surgery. The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue on the back inside wall of the eye. Following are two of the most significant improvements.

The eye functions something like a camera. Light enters through the lens, which focuses that light through the vitreous and onto the retina. The retina contains light sensitive cells that process images and transmit them to the optic nerve. From there, the patterns are sent to the brain, which translates them into the images we see. The macula is the area of the retina that allows us to see small details clearly.

The eye functions something like a camera. Light enters through the lens, which focuses that light through the vitreous and onto the retina. The retina contains light sensitive cells that process images and transmit them to the optic nerve. From there, the patterns are sent to the brain, which translates them into the images we see. The macula is the area of the retina that allows us to see small details clearly.

Microinstrumentation

A number of retinal surgeries require the removal of the vitreous gel inside the eye. “The instrument we use at Floyd Memorial is extremely small and cuts at a very high rate,” said Dr. Lazarus. “The tiny size plus its high cut rate enable me to maneuver near the retina and any scar tissue that may be present more precisely than the previous generation of instruments. The incisions are so small that they are self-sealing and need no sutures. There is less trauma to the outside of the eye, and recovery is much faster.”

Powerful Illumination

According to Dr. Lazarus, “It can be difficult to visualize the inside of the eye. If you go back just 10 years, we had to hold a light pipe in one hand and our instrument in the other. Now we have an extremely powerful light source called the Photon II™. It allows us to pump enough light through a tiny 25-gauge fiber to illuminate the entire inside of the eye. With this type of illumination, I don’t have to hold a light and can have both hands free for operating.”