What Is the History Behind LASIK and How Long Has It Been Performed?

Posted by: Dakota Eye Institute in Uncategorized on November 25, 2022

LASIK is a laser eye surgery performed with precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue with a special laser to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. The cornea is the part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina; this bending and focusing of light is known as refraction. Refractive errors produce blurred vision and can be caused by aging of the lens, the length of the eyeball or changes in the shape of the cornea. LASIK serves to reshape the cornea to restore clear vision.

What is the history behind LASIK and how long has it been performed? LASIK was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1999 but originally dates back as far as the 1940s. It is amazing to see the advances in eye surgery in just under 100 years. In 1948, an ophthalmologist in Columbia named Jose Barraquer Moner became the doctor responsible for the first surgical solution to vision correction. He originally used a scalpel to reshape the cornea but eventually began using a microkeratome to shave off tiny segments of tissue. He perfected the procedure of cutting a flap into the cornea to change its shape and this process is still the basis of modern LASIK techniques. In the 1980s, an ophthalmologist in Russia named Svyatoslov Fyodorov invented a new technique called radial keratotomy that was considered an early precursor to LASIK by making tiny cuts in the cornea to reshape and correct nearsightedness. However, results were not long-lasting due to this type of procedure with improved vision remaining for as little as 6 months and up to 10 years. LASIK today is considered permanent with decades long results, replacing radial keratotomy as the prime choice for vision correction.  

In 1998, the FDA approved the first laser for LASIK surgery for the manufacturer Lasersight Technologies. A microkeratome device was used to create the corneal flap in the first step of the procedure. The LASIK process begins the same way today as a small flap is cut and folded back and then a precision laser is used to reshape the cornea. Although the basic technique is the same as in the 1940s and 1950s, LASIK surgery methodology continues to be refined and improved upon with advancement in technology, helping to provide the best possible outcomes while reducing the risk of complications.

To learn more about if LASIK is right for you, contact Dakota Eye Institute by calling 701-222-3937 or visit our website online at WEBSITE


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