The history of LASIK surgery

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LASIK surgery is currently the most popular visual refractive surgery around the world. This surgery helps lots of people correct vision problems like myopia, hyperopia and even presbyopia on a permanent basis. Some people may not know that prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses only make a temporary compromise. These devices do not exactly cure a vision problem. But vision refractive surgeries like LASIK are supposed to treat the impaired eyes directly and free related patients from corrective devices during the remaining life. While LASIK has gained the highest acceptance, it is actually just a modern and advanced form of visual surgical treatment. There were once many types of refractive surgeries before the development of LASIK.

Corneal incisions and keratomileusis

However, the history of refractive surgery can be dated back to the 1890s, when a lot of experiments were conducted, involving incisions in the cornea. The first case of successful eye surgery took place after more than fifty years. After that, the Japanese started to cure myopia among Asians through experimental surgeries, which entailed a series of corneal incisions, trying to flatten the cornea. Bothered by those complications of the surgery, surgeons abandoned this early technique. In the 1960s, another form of eye surgery called keratomileusis was developed to treat refractive errors. However, this procedure was quite hard to perform and its outcomes were very unpredictable.

Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty using a microkeratome

Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK) was invented as a refined version of keratomileusis after several years. This form of surgery differed from keratomileusis in the use of microkeratome, which was the instrument employed in removing an accurate amount of corneal tissue. In addition, this precise instrument was also used during doing away with freezing, replacement and reshaping components. What’s more, the cut of a small flap in the corneal surface and folding it back also required the use of the microkeratome. Even though there were significant improvements brought by the usage of microkeratome, this new version of surgery was still not reliable enough.

LASIK surgeryRadial Keratotomy and Photo Refractive Keratectomy

The second half of the 1960s witnessed the emergence of Radial Keratotomy, which was developed by a Russian ophthalmologist by making a few modifications to the method of keratomileusis. Using a scalpel, the inventor made a series of radial incisions up to about 90% in the cornea’s thickness. The degree of a refractive error determines the incisions’ exact number. The theory of Radial Keratotomy was similar to keratomileusis. Later in the 1970s, Radial Keratotomy was further popularized by the use of diamond knives. In 1973, the technology of excimer laser was first used to create tremendous precision, which led to the creation of Photo Refractive Keratectomy, still an alternative to LASIK nowadays.

The invention of LASIK

The exact form of LASIK was pioneered by a Greek doctor who tried to synthesize both Keratomileusis and Photo Refractive Keratotomy. Over years, LASIK has gained various improvements in safety, accuracy and efficacy. Now, a LASIK surgery can remove an exact amount of corneal tissues and reshape the cornea precisely, according to the severity of an eye problem.