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History of LASIK Eye Surgery

Aug 17, 2007
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a refractive laser eye surgery procedure that corrects vision problems. This procedure is preferred to PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), as it takes less time for the procedure, as well as for recovery. As far back as 1898, the basic principles of radial kerototomy had been laid down by Lans, a Dutch professor of Ophthalmology. During 1930s, Sato in Japan did some pioneering work with corneal incisions. However, it was only in the 1970s that Dr. Fyodorov brought about practical application of refractive surgery through radial keratotomy in the then Soviet Union.

In 1978, American ophthalmologists became interested in the findings of Dr. Fyodorov. After visiting him in the Soviet Union, Dr. Leo Bores brought the technology back to the United States. Since then, radial keratotomy has been performed on over two million Americans. Research into alternate forms of refractive surgery was prompted by certain limitations of radial keratotomy.

Laser Assisted Refractive Surgery

During the early 1980s, Dr. Srinivasin of the IBM research laboratories first used Excimer laser on biological tissue. This was followed up by Dr. Steven Trokel, an ophthalmologist working with Dr, Srinivasin, who introduced the idea of using laser to reshape the cornea.

The excimer laser has a record of accomplishment of safety internationally, since its introduction in 1987. In 1988, the first photorefractive keratectomy was done in Germany. Since then, more than two million people have had their vision corrected through PRK procedure in over 40 countries. Laser refractive surgery has been found to be the most effective with Myopia, Hyperopia and Astigmatism. The success of laser refractive surgery has encouraged the development of newer laser refractive surgery procedures.

LASIK Eye Surgery is the latest in refractive eye surgeries. In comparison to PRK, in LASIK the cornea remains largely intact and the patients' vision become better more quickly. Reshaping of the cornea has been going on for 50 years, and the Excimer laser has been in use since the 1980s. The first clinical trial using the LASIK procedure was performed in 1991. LASIK uses a device known as Microkerotome - a precision surgical devise with an oscillating blade for creating a corneal flap.

The Excimer laser, unlike the conventional surgical laser beams that affect tissue by producing heat that burns it, uses a charged mixture of fluorine gases. This produces a cool beam of ultra violet light that breaks the molecular bonds and vaporizes tissue.

LASIK eye surgery has been in use for about 15 years with excellent and positive results.
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