UPMC Kildare Installs High-Tech Laser for Eye Surgery

José-Alain Sahel, MD

José-Alain Sahel, MD

UPMC Kildare Hospital, located in Clane, Ireland, is the first hospital in that country to install an innovative laser with the potential to transform laser eye surgery.

This portable technology, called the Ziemer Z8, uses short bursts of energy to create gas bubbles that make a small incision in the patient’s cornea, and then a laser corrects their vision. The Ziemer Z8 is less invasive and more precise than traditional devices, which use a small blade to achieve the same incision.

“This promising technology provides patients with a more comfortable surgical experience and clearer vision following their procedure. It also shortens their recovery time compared to traditional devices,” said Dr. José-Alain Sahel, director of the UPMC Eye Center and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt’s School of Medicine. “We are excited to offer this innovation to our patients in Ireland, and we are finalizing plans to implement this technology at our U.S. locations, starting with Pittsburgh.”

It took eight weeks to install the Ziemer Z8 at UPMC Kildare and to train staff to use the device. It can be used for refractive laser eye surgery, laser cataract surgery and therapeutic procedures.

Since acquiring UPMC Kildare in November 2019, UPMC and its partner, the Institute of Eye Surgery, have been working together to establish a national Ophthalmology Network of Excellence, eliminating the need for patients to travel for advanced eye care.

UPMC Kildare is connected to cutting-edge vision research and clinical trials in Pittsburgh and Paris under Sahel’s leadership. A world-renowned expert in efforts to prevent and cure blindness, Sahel also helped to develop the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower, which is under construction on the campus of UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh. The tower will serve patients from around the world with eye diseases and vision impairment.

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