Most of us know about lasers from television. They’re the things that soldiers of the future shoot at robots. Or they’re the things that future scientists use to blast apart the future asteroid that is about crash into the Future Earth.
But real lasers are very much a part of modern, non-future life. And the highly sophisticated lasers involved in LASIK, while useless against marauding robots, can be used to help correct bad vision.
To understand how LASIK lasers work, you first have to understand lasers in general.
Lasers are a form of light that appear nowhere in nature, meaning that all lasers are necessarily created by human technology.
The light you’re used to seeing (like the sun, etc.) is called “natural light.” Natural light is made up of many different wavelengths, each of which we see as a different color. Lasers, on the other hand, are monochromatic, meaning they consist of a single color (or wavelength).
As is implied by the name, wavelengths are literally shaped like waves. In natural light, the high points and low points of these waves don’t match up. In fact, they’re kind of all over the place. In laser light, all of the wavelengths move together. The high and low points of the waves line up perfectly, forming something scientists call “coherent” light.
Natural light also tends to move in many different directions, which is why when you turn on a flashlight, you get a wide shaft of light instead of a single concentrated beam. Laser light is “collimated,” meaning it travels in one direction and can be concentrated on a single point in space.
The fact that laser light is monochromatic, coherent and collimated means that you can concentrate a tremendous amount of energy into a single beam of incredible power. This beam is useful for cutting through things, certainly, but in the last few decades, scientists have begun putting lasers to use in other remarkable ways – like LASIK.
How do you make a laser?
#DYK “laser” is an acronym? Well, it is: “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” though that’s a bit of a mouthful.
This stimulation causes the electrons to move into a higher-energy orbit around the nucleus of their particular atom. When the electrons stop being so ridiculously excited, they move back down to their original orbit and throw off photons, which is the basic particle of light.
Using mirrors, these photons are bounced around, stimulating even more electrons and causing them to drop even more photons. The end result is the enormous number of photons creating a monochromatic (single color), coherent and collimated beam of powerful, concentrated light: a laser.
Putting lasers to work
Lasers have lots of practical uses – and some less practical. (Laser pointers? They should be called lazy pointers, AMIRITE?)
The first medical application of a laser was a cardiovascular surgeon in 1962, who used one to remove plaque from the interior of a patient’s arteries.
Today, lasers are used in many different kinds of medicine: cosmetic dermatology, mammography, cancer treatment, angioplasty – even liposuction.
Two different kinds of lasers are used in most LASIK procedures.
The first, called a femtosecond laser, is a device that is capable of producing an ultra-fast burst of energy. How ultra-fast? Each burst lasts about a 700 femtoseconds or 700 quadrillionths of a second.
The excimer laser is a cold beam of ultraviolet light that doctors use to remove tiny amounts of tissue in the cornea, reshaping it so that it can better focus the light into your retina, which may improve your vision.
LASIK isn’t for everyone and you can get more safety information here. LASIK patients may also experience some side effects, like dry eye or visual disturbances like halos, glares, starbursts or double images.
So what about the robot uprising?
While the excimer and femtosecond lasers will be relatively useless during the upcoming robot uprising, human ingenuity has given us other lasers that are tremendously powerful.
The U.S. Navy has one in service that can shoot down enemy missiles and drones, while Japanese researchers last year fired the most powerful laser in the history of the world. The latter consisted of a 2-petawatt pulse – or 2 trillion watts – discharged for about a trillionth of a second. To put that in perspective, 2 petawatts is about 1,000 times more power than the entire world consumes.
Lasers are concentrated beams of light capable of improving human vision and putting down robot uprisings. If the robots have human-like eyes and exhibit good behavior while in captivity, we might be able to improve their vision, as well.
(They’ll have to meet a few other criteria, which you can find here.
If you’re considering LASIK, you can find more information at www.backinfocus.com.
Pew pew, pew pew!
On August 21, 2017, the entire United State will see a partial eclipse of the sun. Parts of 11 states will experience a total eclipse. It is important to be very careful when watching a total eclipse to prevent inadvertent damage to your eyes. Looking directly at the sun during most parts of the eclipse can permanently damage your vision of blind you! However, there are methods available to view a solar eclipse safely.
The area of the earth in the United States that will be in the path of the total eclipse is only 70 miles wide and will move across the United States relatively rapidly. Plan now where you want to be to observe the eclipse and be sure to have a back up plan in case bad weather for eclipse viewing is predicted.
The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun is when it is completely covered by the moon during the totality phase of an eclipse. At all other times, you must protect your eyes or you could damage your retina possibly causing blindness. Areas outside of the path of the total eclipse will have a partial eclipse. Only part of the sun is blocked even at the peak of the eclipse. In those areas, there is NO SAFE TIME to look at the sun with the naked eye. You must protect your eyes while watching the entire eclipse.
Don’t let these warnings frighten you as there are safe ways to watch the eclipse. There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not: through special purpose solar filters. These solar filters are used in eclipse glasses or in hand held solar viewers. They must meet a very specific standard worldwide known as ISO 12312-2. Keep in mind ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, or homemade filters are NOT SAFE for looking at the sun.
Steps to follow for safely watching a solar eclipse:
- Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, do not use them.
- Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses. Help children to be sure they use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.
- Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.
- The only time that you can look at the sun without a solar viewer is during a total eclipse. When the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets dark, you can remove your solar filter to watch this unique experience. Then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear very slightly, immediately use your solar viewer again to watch the remaining partial phase of the eclipse.
- Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices. This is important even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.
- Talk with an expert astronomer if you want to use a special solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.
Another way to watch the eclipse safely is to do so indirectly through a pinhole viewer or video display. A pinhole viewer lets you project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall, or pavement. Also NASA will have a live stream of the eclipse that will be safe to watch. Consider watching online, at a local planetarium, science center or club where the appropriate safety measures have been taken.
Not all LASIK procedures are created equal.
There are a number of factors that determine what your LASIK procedure will involve and what that mean for your outcome. Knowing these factors is important because it helps you have an informed conversation with your doctor about what to expect.
But before we get to that, there are two kinds of people who want to get LASIK:
- “I’m ready to geek out on LASIK. I will research exhaustively so I know exactly how to work closely with my doctor on what I want.”
- “I want LASIK. I’d really rather not think about it. Just correct my vision and don’t get too specific about what you did to my eye.”
If you’re in group 2, we totally get it! LASIK can be intimidating. But at the bare minimum, you should feel comfortable talking to your doctor in as much detail as you like. It is surgery after all, and here’s a simple primer on what questions you should ask your LASIK doctor that may be more appropriate to prep you for your LASIK consultation. Or if you’re just ready to talk to a doctor, you can find one near you here.
If you’re in the first group, let’s chat 🙂
Wait, there are blades involved in LASIK? I thought it was all lasers!!
Yes, the LASIK procedure uses a laser to correct your vision. But in preparing your eye for surgery, the doctor can either use another highly sophisticated laser, called a “femtosecond laser,” or what’s called a “microkeratome blade.”
You’ll want to ask your doctor about a blade-free option because there are actual benefits to opting for the femtosecond laser. The laser is linked to fewer complications compared to the blade, and higher patient satisfaction.
Before beginning your procedure, your doctor has to tell the LASIK machine how to correct your vision. Which means your doctor has to measure your vision.
Your doctor can measure your vision using a phoropter, which is the same device he or she would use to prescribe you glasses or contacts. This gives an indication of your overall vision prescription based on one data point, and done correctly, should give you vision on par with the correction you’d get from wearing a pair of contacts or glasses.
(This is a phoropter.)
In contrast, your doctor may instead use the Wavefront method, which scans your eye for more than 1,200 data points. Who doesn’t want more data? This gives a more personalized measurement of your eye, which can lead to a more personalized LASIK procedure that may be up to 25 times more precise than what you would get from phoropter-based LASIK.
The bottom line is different measurement systems come with different levels of information about your unique eyes and vision, and more info may lead to a more personalized, precise level of vision correction. If you’re interested in finding an iLASIK® System surgeon specifically, you can find one near you here.
The bottom line
If you want to get into the finer points with your doctor, asking about your options is the best way to get started, and the above points are a great way to get the ball rolling.
Also remember, LASIK is not for everyone. It’s not recommended if you have diabetes, a history of herpes simplex or herpes zoster keratitis, significant dry eye or serious allergies. There are also side effects associated with LASIK. While they are rare, they can include eye dryness, which may be severe, loss of visual acuity or the need for glasses or contacts after surgery, and visual disturbances like halos (hazy rings around lights), glare, starbursts, double images and other visual irregularities that may be debilitating.
If you’d like to read some first-hand experiences of patients who’ve undergone LASIK, you can find some here, here and here. You can also get full safety information here, and these are also good points to bring up with your doctor about what you can expect to experience and anything you can do to manage side effects.
Now that you know the right talking points, you just need a doctor to talk about them with. You can find a LASIK doctor near you here. Most do consultations for free, and are really good at talking through all the above and more.
As the leading cause of vision loss, cataracts aren’t something to take lightly. Primarily prevalent in individuals over the age of 40, cataracts are typically caused when the eye starts to age— causing the lens of the eye to lose clarity. If you or a loved one think that you may have cataracts, you may consider searching to the internet or Google. You may find a variety of information there, some of which may be incorrect or misleading. To help you decipher between fact and fiction, we have created a brief guide that dispels three common myths surrounding cataracts. Read on to learn more.
Myth 1: They Can Be Cured
Unfortunately for all parties involved, the biggest myth about cataracts is that there is a cure. However, doctors are still on the lookout for a cure for this normal age related change. The good news is cataracts can easily be treated and they can be prevented from worsening. There are excellent surgical solutions for cataract that result in restoration of vision.
Myth 2: They Can Be Reversed
Similar to cataracts being cured, there is a myth stating that cataracts can be reversed. Unfortunately, that is also false. Cataract formation cannot be reversed. Cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with intraocular lens implants.
Myth 3: Eye Drops Can Dissolve Cataracts
In a perfect world, there would be some magical pill or eyedrop for anything— including dissolving cataracts. However, the FDA hasn’t yet approved an eyedrop to dissolve cataracts or get rid of them. So, if you meet someone who says they have eyedrops that can dissolve your cataracts, you know to run the other way.
Weeding through the misinformation on the internet can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, by dispelling the three myths above, you can hopefully feel more informed about cataracts. To learn more about cataracts or how to treat them, contact Dr. David Aizuss today to schedule an appointment!
When it comes to choosing glasses that fit your face, you want to make sure that you take your time and try on a wide variety of frames. Because glasses are your most worn accessory— besides maybe your wedding ring, of course— it’s important that they fit your face and make you feel like a million bucks. Whether you have a round face or a narrow face, this article will list what types of frames you should be looking for based on face shape. Read on to learn more.
If you have a round-shaped face, the best style of frames for you to choose are rectangular ones. By breaking up the roundness in your face, rectangular shaped frames, help to make your face look both longer and thinner.
Rather than choosing glasses that have harsh lines and angles, if you have a square shaped face, look for ones that will soften those sharp lines. We encourage our patients to choose frames that are either oval or round.
Oval Shaped Face
An oval shaped face is one that is typically longer and not as wide, but that is still round. Similar to those with round shaped faces, an oval shaped one is balanced out by wearing lenses that are more square.
Heart Shaped Face
When you have a heart shaped face, you want to balance your face out with your glasses by making your chin appear larger. To do this, try to look for frames that are wider than your actual face— this will help to add that extra bit of balance that you need.
Choosing the right shape and style of glasses will make you not only look good but feel stylish while doing so. If you would like to learn more about what glasses you should choose to match your face shape, contact Dr. David Aizuss today and schedule an eye examination.
I am excited to announce the availability of the iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio system as part of my LASIK vision center’s newest equipment at Laser Vision Institute of the Valley.
The iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio System captures more data than ever before to create a detailed picture of your eye’s unique characteristics in order to create the most accurate treatment plan for your eye and you alone. This 100% personalized LASIK procedure begins with a custom treatment plan which is created using the proprietary wavefront mapping technology from the iDesign System. The system included special high definition sensors that have five times the resolution of our prior technology. We can now correct higher levels of astigmatism up to 5 diopters in people who are nearsighted. Our new system captures 1200 data points from each eye to create a highly accurate 3D map of the surface of your eye. With iDesign a clinical study has shown that at 6 months after surgery, LASIK patients with iDesign were not limited in outdoor sports or activities, had little or no difficulty with the clarity of their vision and 97% were satisfied with their vision after surgery. I am happy to be able to offer this latest improvement in LASIK laser vision correction surgery to my patients.
There have been more than 3.4 million refractive surgery procedures performed globally in 2014. That is more than the entire population of my home city, Chicago, Illinois! We now offer LASIK that starts with the iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio System. This is the brain of the procedures which maps and measures your eyes. Our new iDesign system is 25 times more precise than the methods that we typically use to measure you for glasses or contact lenses! In fact the phoropter, which is the instrument that you sit behind, when we determine your contact lens or eye glass prescription measures the power of your eye in 0.25 (quarter) diopter steps. Thus when we say which is better, one or two, we are measuring at a minimum just a quarter diopter change in power although often we go in half diopter steps. With our new system we measure you in 0.01 diopter steps for amazingly increased precision. Our new system uses the same technology that NASA uses to calibrate the lenses of its new space telescopes. The iDesign System has 5 times better resolution than the older system that we previously used. In fact, our older system which was excellent measured 240 spots in the eye where our new system now measures 1,257 spots!!!
You can achieve 20/20 vision and the LASIK procedure takes about 10 minutes per eye. We use two different Lasers that work together in LASIK:
First is the femtosecond laser that creates a corneal flap. The femtosecond laser produces a pulse that lasts about 700 femtoseconds. A femtosecond is one trillionth of a second. The femtosecond is one trillion times faster than the time it takes for a housefly to flap its wings once!! The femtosecond laser portion of the LASIK procedure can take less than 10 seconds per eye.
Second is the excimer laser which performs the actual vision correction. The excimer laser is so precise that each correction is about 0.25 microns of depth. One micron is one thousand times smaller than a grain of sand. The excimer laser takes about one to two minutes per eye to complete the vision correction.
As you can see, the LASIK procedure is a miraculous high technology procedure that we love to offer to our patients!
Dr. Aizuss has performed LASIK on members of his family, friends, his own physician, own anesthesiologist and many, many happy patients. Call us to arrange your own LASIK evaluation or ask about LASIK laser vision correction at your next examination with Dr. Aizuss.
Whether you’re driving home from work or you’re driving on a road trip, night driving can often be scary for individuals— especially if you have a hard time seeing. Difficulty seeing at night can make lights have an extra glare, and it can also make seeing the lines in the road impossible to see. If you have noticed that you are having a hard time seeing, you may be wondering what is causing it and how it can be treated. Read on to learn more.
What Causes It?
Our eyes react to light with two different types of cells called rods and cones. Rod cells are the ones that work the best in low light— the light you see when driving at night. However, compared to cone cells, we have fewer rod cells which mean that if they get damaged, it takes longer for them to repair themselves— leaving you with a lower ability to see things in the low light. Additionally, as you age, your lenses can become stiffer and cloudier which can also contribute to your inability to see in low light.
How Can It Be Treated?
The best way for Dr. David Aizuss to treat your night driving is by coming into our office and getting an eye exam. In most cases, we will be able to treat your inability to see at night by making slight adjustments to your prescription glasses or contacts. Before you can come into our office to get the proper examination, consider avoiding driving at night or have someone help you get from one place to another.
Driving with impaired vision is one of the worst things you can do for your safety and the other drivers on the road. However, by getting your eyes checked and getting the right prescription for your glasses, you can ensure that you can be safe while on the road at night. To learn more about night vision, contact David Aizuss today!
Unlike snorkeling, crawling and walking backwards, driving is one of the most efficient ways of getting from one place to another.
Plus, there’s just something invigorating about sitting behind the wheel, windows down, cruising, favorite tunes blasting. That’s not to say you can’t have your favorite tunes blasting while you walk backwards, but it’s just not the same.
And yet, driving does have some downfalls. From massive traffic build-ups to bad drivers merging into your lane, you have to be prepared for anything.
Here are four reasons why driving with glasses can add more hassle to your commute.
1. Forgetting your glasses
Forgetting your glasses is bad for everybody on the road — you, pedestrians, other drivers, possums… Blurry vision could impair your reaction time to things like other drivers braking or switching lanes. Plus, if your license states that you drive with corrective lenses and you’re not wearing your specs, you could run the risk of getting a ticket.
2. Losing your glasses in the car
You go to rearrange your glasses and boom, they fly into that black abyss between your chair and the middle compartment. You feel around, but this is already reminding you of the Last French Fry Incident of June 2014. Which is to say they’re gone, man. There is no way you’re getting them back without pulling over. And who knows what else you’ll find down there? (Spoiler alert: it’s that French fry).
3. Cleaning your lenses
It’s looking like an especially foggy day, which is odd, because the sun is out and shining. Even more odd is that that the thick wall of fog moves when your head moves. That’s because it’s not fog, my friend, it’s your glasses. They’re smudged beyond recognition, which is unfortunate because you either have nothing to wipe your glasses with or your microfiber cloth already has peanut butter on it, because don’t ask.
4. Non-transitional lenses
There’s nothing like having a sun visor that’s too short to block the sun’s probing, glaring rays from piercing your eyes. Do your job, sun visor. If you don’t have transitional lenses, it’s even worse. You could just do the Cool Dude Double — that’s where you wear sunglasses over your regular glasses and they just bump awkwardly into one another. Good look!
If you’re sick of letting glasses add unnecessary drama to your commute, ditch ‘em. There are other solutions to vision corrections, and if you haven’t considered LASIK in a while, now might be the right time to look into it. It’s come a long way in 18 years and you can learn more at www.backinfocus.com.