LASIK Vision Correction History & Statistics

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LASIK Eye Surgery News

Radial Keratotomy (RK) invented in the 1950’s

In 1950’s, Dr. Tsutomu Sato of Japan began performing the first documented experimental radial keratotomy eye surgery but sadly his results were not encouraging, as many of his  patients often experienced worse eyesight after experimental treatment.  In the 1970s, Dr. Fyodorov from Russia made tremendous strides with radial keratotomy in large part because of an incident with a patient who was a young boy with accidental corneal lacerations from broken eyeglasses. Dr. Fyodorov noticed after the accident, which resulted in the lacerations to the boy’s cornea that he had less myopia also known as nearsightedness. Dr. Fyodorov figured out how to make these surgical incisions to improve the results from radial keratotomy. One negative to the outdated past radial keratotomy surgeries was its low success rate was highly correlated to a surgeon’s individual skills. This motivated and encouraged ophthalmic medical inventors to develop safer and more predictable methods of corrective vision surgery.

Introduction of Laser Technology in the Medical Treatments

During 1970s, an IBM researcher, Dr. Srinivasin, discovered the potential of the excimer laser to replace the scalpel in reshaping corneal tissue. Until this point in time, lasers were solely used for industrial and commercial purposes.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

Photorefractive keratectomy is like radial keratotomy but instead of using a scalpel, an excimer laser is used to make incisions to the cornea. This new type of laser eye surgery was introduced by a New York ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven Trokel. In 1983, Dr. Trokel was working with Dr. Srinivasan to perform some of the first PRK laser eye correction in Germany. In 1987, the FDA allowed testing the excimer laser for use in PRK laser eye surgery.

LASIK Eye Surgery in the United States

LASIK eye surgery was first performed in America in 1991. With LASIK, a patient’s cornea stays intact which typically allows for a much faster recovery.  Dr. Ioannis Pallikaris labeled the procedure as LASIK and he was the first eye surgeon to create the corneal flap that is still used today in most LASIK procedures. Until then, ophthalmic surgeons had to remove the entire top layer of the epithelium. While LASIK eye surgery is not the most recent advancement in laser vision correction, QualSight respects the pioneers and medical professionals who made LASIK eye surgery possible.

LASIK Vision Correction Statistics

  • Number of LASIK vision correction procedures in the US through 2019: 23 million
  • Number of US surgeons in 2019 who performed refractive surgery: 3,250
  • Number of LASIK Centers in USA 2019: 1,067