Discover LASIK eye surgery history
Most people experience some form of vision correction issue as they age. As early as the 13th century, glasses were used to help improve vision, and contact lenses were created by 1888. These were the only options available to effectively treat vision correction until the 1970s, which is when procedures like LASIK eye surgery entered the picture.
This was revolutionary for people looking for a permanent vision correction solution, and the history of LASIK shows just how far it has advanced and provided millions of Americans with so many treatment options today. Let’s explore LASIK eye surgery history in detail to discover more.
The 1970s – laser eye surgery research
The story behind innovative procedures like LASIK always start long before the first procedure was performed – usually by researchers in businesses and esteemed universities.
In the late 1970s, Radial Keratotomy (RK) – a treatment which in some ways was like LASIK eye surgery was being used across the US. A breakthrough then came in 1980, when Rangaswamy Srinivasan – an IBM researcher – realized that an excimer laser (used at that time for computer chip production) could remove living tissue without any thermal damage.
A surgeon called Steven Trokel from Columbia University then published a study in 1985 which discussed how effective the excimer laser was for RK surgery – leading the way for the first ever laser vision correction procedure.
1988 – the first laser vision correction surgery
Fast-forward to 1988 when eye surgeon Marguerite McDonald, performed the first ever photorefractive keratectomy procedure (PRK) on the damaged eye of a 60-year-old woman with serious vision, with positive results. By 1991, PRK was approved in Canada, followed by the US in 1995.
The beginning of LASIK eye surgery
PRK surgery was a positive new advancement that soon became available to a wider patient base in Europe and other parts of the world. While this was happening, eye doctors Ioannis Pallikaris and Lucio Burrato were also hard at work finding ways to improve laser eye surgery further.
They discovered that creating a flap in the cornea removed the need to treat the surface, and instead allowed eye surgeons to treat the problem at its source, with the flap acting as a natural ‘bandage’ to help minimize post-surgery discomfort and aid quicker recovery.
These advances became the model for modern LASIK eye surgery, which was approved in the US in 1999.
Refining LASIK and creating new procedures
LASIK eye surgery continues to change the lives of people across the globe, thanks to the development of innovative technology to optimize the procedure, and improvements to the excimer laser.
Now, patients can choose from advanced options which further reduce post-surgery recovery time and discomfort, like bladeless LASIK, which as the name suggests, uses a laser to create the flap, rather than a blade. continue with the development of Bladeless LASIK, which creates a flap rather than a blade to correct vision loss.
Custom LASIK and Topography-Guided LASIK also offer more precise results as they allow your eye surgeon to map the eye out completely before surgery so they have the most precise parameters to work from to customize your procedure and deliver the best outcomes for your individual vision needs.
The history of LASIK shows us that LASIK technology is constantly evolving, and will continue to do so, giving you more options, and even better results when it comes to permanent vision correction.
Contact TLC LASIK San Antonio
If you‘d like to see whether LASIK could change your vision for the better, why not contact our TLC LASIK San Antonio center for a free LASIK consultation today? Our highly experienced team, led by Medical Director Dr. Oday Alsheikh, MD, is committed to helping our patients experience the best vision possible using the latest technology, and we’re ready to answer all your questions!