Then and Now: The History of LASIK
History of LASIK
Archaic attempts at vision correction have been found and dated back to 13th-century Italy, where the very first eyeglasses were crafted. Even laser vision correction has a longer history than you might think, as doctors around the world have long sought a more permanent solution to vision problems.
In the 1970s, one invention – the excimer laser – propelled doctors toward the solution they were seeking. By the late 1980s, doctors were developing and perfecting photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the procedure which preceded LASIK.
How LASIK Has Changed
In 1999, scientists developed wavefront analysis – technology that maps a patient’s prescription, creating a corneal map as unique as a fingerprint. As researchers and developers figured out how to marry wavefront analysis data with the excimer laser, the result was a truly customized procedure with greatly improved results.
Wavefront analysis for LASIK gained FDA approval in the U.S. in 2002. During this same year, LASIK became the world’s most common elective procedure. LASIK quickly became a household name as ads flooded the airwaves and more than a million procedures were performed in the U.S. each year.
Why it’s so Much Better Now
Technology always continues to push forward in every industry and laser vision correction is no exception. Today, most LASIK procedures are 100% bladeless. With blade-free LASIK, a femtosecond laser, rather than a blade, is used to create a corneal flap at the precise depth and diameter desired by the surgeon.
Advances in LASIK technology have provided a platform for:
- More effective results
- Accuracy of visual outcomes
- Improved understanding of who makes a good candidate
The future of this simple, yet life-changing, procedure is even brighter now than it was for the ground-breaking innovators of the past 65 years.
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