History of LASIK

November 08, 2016

Humans have sought a way to correct vision for a long time. The first eyeglasses appeared in the 13th century, and the first contact lenses showed up in 1888. However, for some, these solutions weren’t enough. They wanted a more permanent way to correct vision that would alter the eye itself and not rely on any external means of correction. Here is a brief walkthrough of the history of LASIK surgery. 

1970s

Also in the 1970s, Dr. Svyatoslov N. Fyodorov treated a young boy with corneal injuries from shattered glass. After the injuries healed, Fyodorov found that his vision was actually better than before the injury.  He theorized these cuts helped to flatten the cornea and correct his vision, and began experimenting with the process that would eventually become Radial Keratotomy, which used several corneal incisions to alter the cornea and make vision changes.

1980s

In the 1980s, the invention of the excimer laser helped to make this dream a reality. Originally invented to help make computer chips, this laser was found to be extremely precise and able to remove tissue during refractive correction surgeries. One Columbia University researcher, Dr. Stephen L. Trokel, used the laser to perform laser vision correction on animal cadavers, human cadavers, and eventually living rabbits and monkeys.

The first live human patients he treated were blind, and when their recovery showed no damage to the clarity and structure of the human cornea, the first sighted patients was treated in 1987. The next ten years were used to perfect the technique.

1990s

Dr. Stephen Slade and his scientific colleague, Dr. Stephen Brint, were the first ophthalmologists to perform LASIK in the United States in 1991. With more precise methods of surgical cutting available, traditional cuts could be combined with the excimer laser to produce a specific desired result. During LASIK, the surgeon makes a cut in the cornea that creates a cap, called a microkeratome. This procedure was named photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK.

Further refinement led to a procedure where the corneal cap was not completely removed from the cornea, but rather left partially attached. This made for easier repositioning of the cap, and thus began the era of laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).

In 1995, the Food and Drug Administration approved PRK after a successful three-year trial on 1,600 eyes.

In 1999, scientists developed wavefront analysis. Wavefront technology maps a patient’s prescription, which are as unique as fingerprints.

2000s to Today

Shortly after the FDA’s approval of the procedure, improvements in LASIK tools and techniques allowed for predictable outcomes and a new form of treatment for people with large pupils or severe myopia, which posed problems with earlier versions of the surgery.

Wavefront analysis for LASIK gained U.S. FDA approval in 2002—the same year LASIK became the world’s most common elective procedure. 2002 also brought about the invention of 100% bladeless LASIK surgery. With bladeless LASIK, a a femtosecond laser, not a blade, is used to create a corneal flap at the precise depth and diameter desired by the surgeon. Both bladed and bladeless LASIK are proven safe and effective, but bladeless LASIK offers a variety of advantages for many patients.

Today, the understanding of who makes a good candidate has expanded, allowing surgeons to screen patients accordingly. The accuracy of visual outcomes has increased, and many patients begin to see improvements in the first few hours after surgery.

Patients who have received LASIK are overall happy with their results. An analysis of 3,000 peer-reviewed papers by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery revealed that the patient satisfaction rate for LASIK ranks at more than 95 percent.

If you are considering LASIK, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to see if you are a candidate. The technology to make this surgery possible has come very far in the last few decades, allowing patients to receive vision correction that is better than ever.

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What Our Patients Think

  • Riley Hart /
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  • Ben Crosswhite / OWNER, CROSSWHITE FITNESS
    I couldn't recommend a better doctor, a better facility, and I'm so glad I did it.
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    Brenda Edson /
    "I could not have asked for a better experience at Piedmont Eye Center. From my very first visit, the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in me."
  • Bobby Moore /
    "I wish I would have done it many years ago now."
  • Bryan Mitchell outside of a football stadium
    Bryan Mitchell / ANALYST
    "My vision was the best it had been since I was a teen. I had my LASIK surgery performed almost 2 years ago, and it is as good today as it was then."
  • Caroline Trexler /
    "They ensured that the entire process from preliminary appointments to follow up visits went seamlessly – the perfect team that gave me perfect vision."
  • Charles / RETIRED COMMANDER , UNITED STATES NAVY
    "All and all, this has been a very pleasant and beneficial period for me. I recommend it highly for anyone in a similar situation.'
  • Cynthia Stewart standing outside
    Cynthia /
    "I feel almost like a new person It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and be able to actually see across the room without fumbling for my glasses. "
  • Frances / RETIRED
    "Dr. Ceballos has always been very positive, clarifying everything medically, never leaving me in doubt and has always made me feel special and important."
  • Guy / RETIRED
    "The procedure was painless, and now I’m happy to say I only wear glasses to read. I have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/25 in my right. "
  • Janice Bloom standing in front of a tree
    Janice Bloom / ADMISSIONS DATABASE & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    "Dr. Bowers and his staff treated me with the utmost in professional care, making sure I was comfortable throughout the entire process."
  • Barbara / RETIRED
    "The procedure was pain free and I am so pleased with the results. It was money well spent and it is unbelievable how clear and colorful everything is. I want to tell Dr. Bowers and his staff how grateful I am."
  • Jerome / RETIRED
    "Doctor Vogel has treated me professionally as has his staff. They have been caring and have answered my questions to my satisfaction."
  • Jon Dupin standing outside of a brick home
    Jon Dupin / PASTOR
    "LASIK is not just a medical advancement to me; it’s a miracle"
  • Josh Brewer / HUMANITARIAN AID
    "Because of Dr. Bowers and his team at Piedmont Eye Center, my everyday life is now a whole lot easier. "
  • Judy Bowman / MISSIONARY
    "My experience of having Laser Vision Correction was fantastic. Dr. Bowers and all his staff are so knowledgeable and professional, yet very personal, warm, caring, and friendly."
  • Lucy standing in a classroom
    Lucy /
    "Dr. Bowers and his team were very comforting. The next morning, I opened my eyes and was able to see the alarm clock across the room, which I was never able to see before. It was a miracle!"
  • Martha Ann / GRANDMOTHER
    "It is a wonderful feeling to have no RX lenses. I want to thank Dr. Bowers and the Surgery Center for the freedom I feel.”
  • Monica Shelton / Featured Patient
    "Everyone told me what they were going to be doing to me and what to expect every step of the way. My experience with Piedmont Eye Center and Dr. Bowers and the whole LASIK team was awesome!"
  • Adelia / RETIRED
    "God led me to Dr. Vogel. He is absolutely the most wonderful doctor in the world. Not only is he a great doctor, he is a great ‘people person’. You always feel safe with him."
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    Penny Abbott / Financial Consultant
    "From the great staff who helped me, to the simplicity of setting up my flexible spending account, to my complete satisfaction and enjoyment of having clear sight, this has been an easy process."
  • Sallie Bloom / SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
    "The staff at Piedmont eased my nerves and the procedure was swift and smooth."
  • Sue Earsing and lasik eye surgery
    Sue / CHIROPRACTOR
    "I have always seen the world through glasses or contacts, so the sharpness of vision I have now was never there before."
  • Tim / NATIONAL ENDURO CHAMPION
    “Dr. Bowers not only met my expectations, he surpassed them. I had no idea that vision like this was possible. I no longer struggle in the shadows of a course- everything is clearer.”
  • Troy Doss
    Troy Doss / ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AT JEFFERSON FOREST
    "Piedmont Eye Center takes care of the little things to make LASIK a comfortable process."
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