Re-envisioning Specialty Eye Care: The Pascal Synthesis Laser
Dr. Toby Chan straightens his headset and hovers over a patient. Like a scene in a science fiction movie, a laser beam shoots out of his forehead and into the patient’s eye.
Instead of playing a terrifying, technology-savvy villain, Dr. Chan is the hero in this movie, repairing a retinal tear with a five-minute procedure that used to take upwards of half an hour.
The sped-up surgery is done with the Pascal Synthesis Laser, a donor-funded item that’s been re-envisioning specialty eye care at St. Mary’s since the machine arrived last December.
The laser delivers bursts of accurate shots to cover larger areas quickly and is often propped up to treat patients seated in a chair. But, unlike traditional retinal lasers, the new technology can also be fired from a physician’s headset to treat harder-to-reach retinal problems while patients lay on their backs.
Retinal holes or tears, and conditions like diabetic retinopathy, which can cause vision loss or blindness, can be treated in three to five minutes.
“The Pascal Synthesis Laser gives us more flexibility and shortens the duration of treatments,” Dr. Chan says. “That means wait times for patients become shorter, and lesions that would normally have to be treated out of town can now be treated locally.”
The Pascal Synthesis Laser arrives at a “groundbreaking” time for the ophthalmology department at St. Mary’s, Dr. Chan says. The hospital launched its new donor-funded Retinal Surgery Program in September.
Dr. Chan says the addition of a retinal surgeon on staff is “a long time coming,” and will give patients access to care they need close to home.
“Patients used to have to travel, not only for their surgery but also for follow-up appointments. That’s hours and hours of travel – quite an ordeal, especially for our older patients,” says Dr. Chan.
“A local retinal surgeon is something we’ve needed for many years and now it’s coming to fruition.”
Want to see the Pascal Synthesis Laser in action? Watch the video below.