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Primary Eye Care Associates

Reviewing the History of LASIK

By Dr. Steven Chander on November 13, 2018

A drawing of an eye with lines showing where LASIK incisions are madeWhen it comes to vision correction, LASIK has become the gold standard. LASIK reshapes the cornea to correct the refractive errors that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Today’s LASIK procedure is safer and more reliable than ever thanks to recent advancements in technology and technique. The team at Primary Eye Care Associates in Chicago, IL, reviews the history of LASIK, so patients can understand how this procedure is safer and more effective than ever.

The Foundation of Refractive Surgery in the 1940s

A Polish missionary and ophthalmologist, Father Waclaw Szuniewicz developed a surgical technique in an attempt to cure astigmatism. While living abroad in China in 1948, he developed a process that altered the curvature of the cornea.

Father Szuniewicz continued advancements in this field by surgically treating astigmatism while at Yale from 1949-1952. This idea of surgically altering the cornea to correct vision served as the basis for vision correction surgeries, including LASIK.

RK Surgery in 1970s

Refractive eye surgeries were first performed in the 1970s and 1980s. Radial keratotomy (RK) was the most notable of these, and was introduced in the United States in 1978. This technique involved making several incisions in the cornea to reshape corneal tissues and correct refractive errors.

Key Advances in the 1980s

There were two notable advances in refractive surgery in the 1980s that led to the LASIK procedure, including:

  1. The hinge incision technique. Eye surgeons began experimenting with the hinge technique, often called the flap technique, in the late 1980s. This technique involves making a partial incision along the cornea that creates a flap of tissue on the outside of the cornea. This allows access to the interior corneal tissues for manipulation. When surgery is complete, the corneal flap is simply laid back over the eye. The flap technique offered a number of advantages including faster recovery time and a lower risk of complications.
  2. Excimer Lasers. The excimer laser, developed in the 1980s for use on computers, was harnessed by surgeons to make precise incisions. With greater control, surgeons could provide more effective vision treatment and reduce the risk of unwanted side effects.

First LASIK Procedures

Dr. Gholam Peyman was granted a patent for his laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis procedure (LASIK) in 1989. This technique combined the flap technique with the precision of the excimer laser. LASIK was later approved by the FDA for public application in 1999.

Since it was approved by the FDA, other advances have been made to the LASIK procedure. For instance, IntraLase® laser technology, sometimes known as IntraLASIK, creates the corneal flap without the use of a blade. This advancement is offered at Primary Eye Care Associates and allows for improved safety and effectiveness.

Schedule an Appointment

LASIK surgery allows patients with vision impairment to see clearly again, without the need for glasses or contact lenses. If you are interested in learning more about LASIK surgery, schedule your appointment at Premium Eye Care Associates at your earliest convenience. You can call us at (773) 492-6041 or fill out our online messaging form.

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