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A Brief History of LASIK

A Brief History of LASIK


Have you heard friends and family talking about LASIK surgery? Extolling the benefits of this permanent vision correction that can allow you to toss away your glasses and contacts for good? If so, you may wonder if this is some trendy surgery or a procedure rooted in a solid past. Become more familiar with the history of LASIK for a clearer understanding of where it all began, and how far it has come.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK is a surgical procedure performed by a trained eye surgeon to correct the shape of the cornea. You will be happy to know this procedure began in the 1980s, so it is certainly not a trend. During the procedure, your surgeon will use either all lasers, or lasers and a blade, to cut a small flap over the top of your cornea. The light travels through the other parts of the eye, and is eventually read by the brain as the image in your field of view. If your cornea is malformed, the refraction of light may become distorted, resulting in a poor image - or poor eyesight.

After your surgeon creates the flap, he or she will then remove a part of your cornea to create an improved shape. The result is clear vision and corrected nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Recovery time is approximately three months.

How Did it All Begin?

LASIK began as an accident, when researchers at IBM discovered the lasers they were manipulating and working with could successfully cut animal tissue without causing harm. Consider the developments that inspired LASIK, as well as those that followed:

  • In 1948, a scientist named Jose I. Barraquer Moner came up with keratomileusis, a process by which one could sculpt the cornea
  • In 1988, an excimer laser was used to successfully sculpt a cornea for better eyesight
  • In 1989, Dr. Gholam A. Peyman was granted a U.S. patent for a procedure that included the creation of a corneal flap, the improvement of the cornea's shape, and the replacement of the flap - the basis of the LASIK procedure
  • In 1990, a microkeratome - or oscillating blade - was used successfully to create a corneal flap
  • In 1999, LASIK was approved by the FDA

How Has it Advanced?

Since its beginnings, the LASIK procedure has touched the lives of millions. In fact, throughout the world, over 28 million LASIK procedures have been performed, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). In addition, advancements in laser technology allow for an all-laser, bladeless procedure. Rather than the use of a blade to create the corneal flap, the bladeless procedure utilizes a laser. The laser is computer-driven, and incorporates advanced software, which assists surgeons in mapping out the cornea, and making precise cuts.

Contact a LASIK Surgeon

If you suffer from poor eyesight, LASIK may provide you with a tried-and-true solution to attaining better vision. To have more of your LASIK questions answered, contact a local LASIK surgeon today.

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