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History of Refractive Surgery

Modern-day refractive surgery began somewhat by accident in the 1970s in Russia. An individual who had been involved in a car accident suffered glass cuts in his eye. Ironically, the cuts altered the shape of the patient's cornea - and eventually his vision improved. The Russian physician utilized this information to perfect a procedure called Radial Keratotomy (RK). In RK, several incisions are made in the cornea so that the cornea of the nearsighted patient would flatten.

In 1987, the first laser vision correction occurred in Germany. During the early 1990s, discovered that the IBM Excimer Laser, originally developed to etch computer chips, could accurately and precisely reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors.

After various supervised trials, the Food & Drug Administration approved laser vision correction in 1995. The two types of laser vision correction procedures performed on the Excimer Laser are PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis).

PRK differs from LASIK in several ways. PRK treats the front surface of the cornea while LASIK alters the inner tissue of the cornea. With PRK, a flap is not created. PRK recovery time is longer (several weeks instead of a few days), drops are needed for three months instead of several days, and the patient must wear therapeutic bandages/contact lenses after the procedure.

LASIK has since become the preferred method of laser vision correction. In very specific instances, such as the eye orbits being too deep or the cornea too flat or steep, PRK is the treatment of choice.

At first, LASIK was FDA approved for treating nearsightedness (myopia) with or without astigmatism. During the fall of 2000, the FDA authorized lasers to treat farsightedness with astigmatism.

The Excimer laser beam is so precise it takes 200 pulses to cut through a single eyelash. It produces a "cool" beam of light that does not damage surrounding tissue.

Since FDA approval in the mid-1990s, more than several million Americans have experienced laser vision correction - and its popularity continues to increase.

Contact us to schedule your Complimentary LASIK Evaluation or for more information.

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