Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1989, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to a retinal surgeon Gholam Peyman, MD, for a “Method for Modifying Corneal Curvature.”1
The method came to be known as laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). The patent represented a major landmark in evolution of eye care. It was the culmination of more than a century of innovations in science and technology.
It also coincided with the start of a transformative practice model—the collective engagement of optometrists and ophthalmologists in the care of a patient.
Eye care has come a long way since the summer of ’89. Correcting sphere and cylinder is no longer enough. Eyecare practitioners have advanced to treating higher order aberrations we couldn’t even detect thirty years ago.
We now expect vision outcomes better than 20/20 for the majority of our patients.
Today, both optometrists and ophthalmologists are advancing the field of spectacle independence. From prevention to treatment of refractive error, ODs and MDs are united by a common goal to help our patients lead healthy and productive lives.
More than 100 years ago, Hermann Snellen introduced the concept of surgically altering cornea to reduce refractive error.2 Initially, refractive surgery developed along two paths—radial keratotomy (RK) and lamellar surgery, called keratomileusis.3 The invention of excimer laser in the early ‘80s made RK obsolete and transformed keratomileusis into the LASIK of today.
The initial years of excimer laser work brought together scientists and clinicians with diverse backgrounds and expertise.
1. Free Patents Online. Method for Modifying Corneal Curvature. Available at: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4840175.pdf. Accessed 10/7/19.
2. McAlinden C. Corneal refractive surgery: past to present. Clin Exp Optom. 2012 Jul;95(4):386-98.
3. Reinstein DZ, Archer TJ, Gobbe M. The history of LASIK. J Refract Surg. 2012 Apr;28(4):291-8.
4. Bloomberg Business. LASIK Surgery: How IBM’s Dr. James Wynne Discovered It. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/. Accessed 10/7/19.watch?v=yzavwVLefPw
5. Sandoval HP, Donnenfeld ED, Kohnen T, Lindstrom RL, Potvin R, Tremblay DM, Solomon KD. Modern laser in situ keratomileusis outcomes. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2016 Aug;42(8):1224-34.
6. Eydelman M, Hilmantel G, Tarver ME, Hofmeister EM, May J, Hammel K, Hays RD, Ferris F 3rd. Symptoms and Satisfaction of Patients in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (PROWL) Studies. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan 1;135(1):13-22.
7. Moshirfar M, Shah TJ, Skanchy DF, Linn SH, Kang P, Durrie DS. Comparison and analysis of FDA reported visual outcomes of the three latest platforms for LASIK: wavefront guided Visx iDesign, topography guided WaveLight Allegro Contoura, and topography guided Nidek EC-5000 CATz. Clin Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan 4;11:135-147.
8. Schallhorn J. Challenging conventional wisdom about LASIK. Presented at: American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery annual meeting; May 3-7, 2019; San Diego.
9. Optical Society of America. How a leftover Thanksgiving dinner gave us LASIK surgery. Available at: https://phys.org/news/2013-11-leftover-thanksgiving-dinner-gave-lasik.html. Accessed 10/7/19.