Over the past few years, thousands of lives have been changed thanks to LASIK surgery. But despite the fact that the majority of LASIK procedure have been performed over the past 10 years, the idea of corrective surgery has been around since the late 1940s. If you want to learn a little more about how LASIK became the incredible surgery it is today, read on for a brief history of LASIK.

A Brief History of LASIK Surgery Barry Wasserman

A Polish missionary and ophthalmologist pioneered refractive surgery of the cornea.


In the early 1970s, Svyatoslov N. Fyodorov, MD met a young boy whose cornea had been cut by small pieces of glass after he sustained an injury to the head. When the boy healed from his injuries, he was able to see better than before. Fyodorov believed that radial cuts could flatten the cornea, leading him to develop radial keratotomy — the process of using radial incisions to change the shape of someone’s cornea.

1973 – 1983

For more than 10 years, three researchers at IBM® experimented with an excimer laser that had been given to their physics department. After much trial and error, they discovered that when the laser mixed with pulses of ultraviolet light, it could make very precise changes to organic material.


In 1983, an ophthalmologist named Stephen Trokel wrote a paper on the idea that a laser could reshape a person’s cornea and correct their eyesight. The paper’s massive popularity lead to a worldwide research program to prove Trokel’s findings.

In 1987, Trokel completed the first laser surgery on a patient’s eye.


It wasn’t until the early 1990s that LASIK surgery as we know it today began to truly take shape. After successfully creating a thin corneal flap using a microkeratome and applying the excimer laser to exposed tissue of cornea, ophthalmologists and colleagues Dr. Stephen Slade and Dr. Stephen Brint became the first two people to perform a LASIK procedure.


After years of successful corrective surgeries, the FDA officially approved the clinical trials of LASIK here in the United States.

If you’re considering getting LASIK surgery, contact Dr. Barry Wasserman! Dr. Wasserman is an accomplished LASIK surgeon, pediatric ophthalmologist, and educator. As a certified AMO/VISX Excimer Laser surgeon, he performs LASIK refractive surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. He is also a board certified ophthalmologist and the Medical Director of New Jersey Eye Laser Centers at Princeton.

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