Posted by: courtneygrapperhaus | July 5, 2015

LASIK – A Quick Overview

Recently here in St. Louis we have been getting a lot of rain and hot temperatures. My glasses seem like they are constantly foggy or wet and I have to clean them several times a day. I tried wearing contact lenses before but I didn’t really like them. Many people around the world struggle with the same problems I do and about “40% of Americans who wear glasses” have considered LASIK (

So, how did LASIK come to be, what is it, and is it a good idea?

History (courtesy of Wikipedia)

In 1980, Rangaswamy Srinivasan, at the IBM Research laboratory, discovered that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissue, with precision and with no thermal damage to the surrounding area. Marguerite B. MacDonald MD performed the first human VISX refractive laser eye surgery in 1989.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commenced a trial of the excimer laser in 1989. In 1992, under the direction of the FDA, Greek ophthalmologist Ioannis Pallikaris introduced LASIK to ten VISX centres. In 1998, the “Kremer Excimer Laser”, serial number KEA 940202, received FDA approval for its singular use for performing LASIK.[83] Subsequently, Summit Technology was the first company to receive FDA approval to mass manufacture and distribute excimer lasers. VISX and other companies followed.[83]

Since 1991, there have been further developments such as faster lasers; larger spot areas; bladeless flap incisions; intraoperative corneal pachymetry; and “wavefront-optimized” and “wavefront-guided” techniques. However, use of the excimer laser risks damage to the retina and optic nerve. The goal of refractive surgery is to avoid permanently weakening the cornea with incisions and to deliver less energy to the surrounding tissues.

The Bausch & Lomb Technolas 217Z Excimer LaserLASIK stands for “Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis”. There are 2 parts to LASIK surgery:  flap creation and corneal reshaping. The surgeon creates a flap using a laser or blade. This flap is lifted and then the surgeon uses and excimer laser to reshape your cornea (specifically the stroma layer). After the surgery is complete the flap will be replaced.

LASIK recovery time is low and most patients return to normal activities the day after surgery. Most of a patient’s normal vision is returned within several hours, but it can take several months to reach 100%. As with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks including infection, dry eyes, and halos.

About 80% of the adult population is a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. Many of them share key traits

* Age 18 and older

* Have a common vision problem (e.g. astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness)

* Lead active lifestyles

* Cannot or prefer not to wear glasses and/or contact lenses

* Are in general good health

LASIK eye surgery ranges in cost depending on your location, provider, and insurance discounts. To determine if you are a candidate for LASIK, you can schedule a consultation with a provider of your choice. Many offer these at no cost.

Also check out our previous posts on LASIK:

Getting LASIK? Consider how your contacts and glasses have protected your eyes.

How do LASIK & other eye surgeries effect dry eye?

LASIK surgery and its effect on the contact lens industry

Considering LASIK surgery? Sites that might scare you

FDA Looks at LASIK


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