The Evolution of LASIK
Submitted by Dr. Dean Dornic on Sun 01/23/2011 - 11:27
Like many medical procedures, LASIK eye surgery has evolved and improved with time. Many patients are surprised to find out just how long LASIK has been around.
In 1949 a Columbian ophthalmologist by the name Barraquer performed a corneal procedure to correct refractive error termed automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK). ALK involved the use of a microkeratome to create a flap and remove a disc of corneal tissue in order to decrease nearsightedness.
With the introduction of the excimer laser to the ALK procedure the name of the procedure was changed to LASIK. The excimer laser made the procedure more precise and resulted in more widespread acceptance but this was, by no means, the only important advance in vision correction technology. Over the years, a number of innovations such as eyetrackers, iris registration, wavefront technology and introduction of the IntraLase laser have improved safety and outcomes.
Today, the safety of LASIK exceeds that of contact lens wear and the risk of such side-effects as night halos is reduced to such a low level that most patients will actually experience an improvement in night vision.
Of course, patients should be aware that there are different technologies available all with different safety profiles and success rates. Some of the more important innovations: IntraLase and CustomVue are associated with increased costs but if you’ve been holding off on LASIK waiting for the procedure to get better, the increased costs may well be worth it.