Laser vision correction as we know it at Excel Laser Vision Institute, a LASIK clinic in Los Angeles, has quite an extensive history, thanks to the discoveries of many different researchers, scientists, and doctors. We can thank our advanced technology and eye correction methods to their combined contributions to the study of refractive surgery. One of the most recent improvements to the LASIK procedure is the use of the Wavelight EX500 laser. Harvard-trained surgeon Dr. Moosa discusses how this is used at the Excel Laser Vision Institute:
Twenty-first-century vision correction methods have reached new heights of safety, efficiency, and accuracy. However, it took a great amount of trial and error to get to this point. At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. Lendeer Jans Lans published a paper on correcting astigmatism by making tiny incisions in the cornea to adjust the natural curvature. This information became useful in 1930, when Tsutomu Sato, a Japanese ophthalmologist, started practicing refractive surgery on war pilots. In his time, laser technology was not available, which meant that these procedures were less accurate and less protective of the eye.
Fortunately, the microkeratome came into use in 1963 to better optimize the reshaping of the cornea. This was called keratomileusis, a technique that was adopted into laser vision correction and LASIK. The next big discovery happened when a Russian doctor was treating a nearsighted boy who had an accident. After suffering a great fall, he broke his glasses and got pieces of glass stuck in his eye. The result of this was a happy accident! The glass had cut off parts of his cornea and actually contributed to better vision. When the Russian doctor saw this, he started doing research that led to radial keratotomy.
While all of these doctors made strides in vision correction, the development of laser technology was necessary for moving this practice in the right direction. According to Doctor Moosa, a LASIK eye specialist, lasers were able to make more precise incisions that did not burn organic tissue. Photorefractive keratectomy was first performed in 1981 on a Thanksgiving turkey to prove this point. Laser eye surgery further progressed when Dr. Marguerite McDonald completed the first PRK procedure to correct myopia in 1987 and then performed the first Epi-LASIK surgery in North America in 2003.
LASIK eye surgery is often associated with Ioannis Pallikaris, the Greek ophthalmologist that performed the first procedure on a person in 1989. Within the same timeframe another ophthalmologist named Gholam Peyman received a patent for this type of refractive surgery. Since then, the integration of the femtosecond laser has allowed for bladeless LASIK techniques to arise and wavefront technology has allowed a greater capacity for personalization. Now, surgeons are able to create and follow a digital map of an individual’s cornea in order to increase accuracy and safety.
Thanks to the contributions of many professionals, the world of laser eye surgery has become more exciting and innovative than anyone thought possible. It is also increasingly accessible to people now that LASIK eye surgery cost has been made more affordable. Patients at laser eye clinics can now achieve 20/20 vision or better, regaining their independence and improving their quality of life.