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The Evolution of LASIK Eye Surgery

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How much do you know about the evolution of LASIK eye surgery? While the term “LASIK” is relatively known to most people worldwide, many people are less sure of its beginnings. Early on, scientists performed fundamental experiments that enabled them to gain critical knowledge that eventually revolutionized vision correction treatment, technique and surgery so that local clinics like Anaheim LASIK eye surgery can serve thousands of patients annually.

LASIK Surgery Timeline

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The history of LASIK surgery spans more than eight decades and begins with an Iranian-born doctor named Gholam Peyman. At just age 19, Dr. Peyman immigrated to Germany where he began his studies in medicine. After graduating in 1962, Peyman underwent retina studies at Jules Stein Eye Institute and later at the UCLA School Of Medicine in 1971. Eventually, he became the professor of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, which lasted until 1987 when he used his knowledge to transform operating room standards

Peyman's Laser Explorations

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Peyman's first advancement came from studying the CO2 laser and experimenting with corneas that he found did not perform well during the procedure or afterward in regard to scarring. Because of these issues, he deduced he would need to wait for better laser technology that would permit cornea tissue removal. Peyman also believed that better laser technology would allow for under flap cornea modification without serious side effects. After publishing his findings in 1980, IBM researchers responded within two years with excimer lasers, but it took until 1989 for Dr. Peyman to have access through patent registration. Eventually, Peyman was able to proceed with the experimental excimer laser evaluation that included patient-direct studies and assessments. With the assistance of the University of Helsinki, LASIK eye surgery was born.

Critical LASIK Developments

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  • Father Waclaw Szuniewicz pioneers refractive surgery in 1948 from his knowledge of corneal reshaping experiments which he accomplished at Yale University.
  • In 1964, Professor Rafael I. Barraquer developed refractive surgery procedures including keratomileusis (retina correction) and keratophakia (frozen corneal transplant).
  • By 1970, Dr. Svyatoslav Nikolayevich Fyodorov radicalized keratotomy which led to the advancement of laser incision techniques that decreased the number of patients' nearsightedness.
  • Between 1973 and 1983, the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center led experiments with the excimer laser. Although it was Dr. Stephen L. Trokel, who, in 1987, introduced photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the use of the excimer laser surgical tool remained a standard procedure among many high-profile American surgeons.
  • In 1991, Drs. Stephen Brint and Stephen Slade performed the first LASIK eye surgery in the United States by using a microkeratome surgical instrument to make a flap in the outer part of the cornea. These ophthalmologists then corrected the refractive error with an excimer laser by reshaping the middle of the cornea.
  • In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved LASIK as well as the use of the excimer laser.
  • In 2001, Dr. Tibor Juhasz began promoting the femtosecond laser in which the FDA approved the bladeless Intralase for LASIK procedures. Its improved precision by having the ability to measure the thickness of the corneal flap.

Today, LASIK refractive eye surgery is more advanced, precise and affordable thanks to each of these contributors to laser technology as well as their dedication to vision correction procedures.