The eye is one of the most delicate organs in the human body. The instruments used in ophthalmological care and surgery must therefore be extremely precise. Fortunately, ophthalmological instruments have come a long way since the field of ophthalmology itself began. Developments in computer and laser technology have enabled ophthalmologists to conduct surgeries and other procedures with minimal danger of human error. Ophthalmic instruments can be highly specialized or used for a broad range of procedures. The following are some of the top medical instruments being used in the field today.
The Photocoagulation Laser
Laser Photocoagulation is a type of eye surgery used to treat a wide variety of eye diseases, most commonly types of retinopathy and macular degeneration. The photocoagulation laser that’s most used in ophthalmology is the Nd: YAG laser, which stands for neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet, the crystal that is used to generate the YAG laser. The YAG laser allows for ultra-precise and consistent cuts that leave surrounding healthy tissue undamaged. Some modern photocoagulation laser units combine YAG and Green lasers for more versatility during treatments.
The confocal microscope is an advanced, hi-tech microscope used in ophthalmology to take highly detailed images of the eye and internal eye structures. Using sophisticated spatial techniques, the confocal microscope allows ophthalmologists to reconstruct three-dimensional structures from the images it takes. Modern confocal microscopes can perform automatic cell-analysis that helps detect ailments.
A corneal topographer is a device that lets doctors map out the surface curvature of the cornea, which is the outer structure of the eye responsible for about 70% of the refractive power of the eye. Being able to study and analyze the cornea’s topography is essential in determining vision quality and diagnosing problems. Corneal topography is a non-invasive imaging method that uses a digital camera to take pictures of the cornea and construct a three-dimensional map of its surface.
Ophthalmoscopes are small, handheld devices that shine a light on the patient’s eye to allow doctors to check to make sure that the eye is healthy. It’s a basic procedure that is commonly performed during routine physical checkups. More advanced ophthalmoscopes use a laser to to allow for higher detail and accuracy.
The wavefront aberrometer, as its name implies, is an instrument used for visualizing and detecting aberrations in a patient’s eye structures. It combines a variety of imaging methods — including topography, wavefront, autorefraction, keratometry, and pupillometry — in order to provide more accurate data. Images obtained are displayed on an LCD screen that allows for high contrast for easier analysis.