Early Eye Surgery
The first recorded eye surgery was a cataract removal. In very early times, they were treated by striking the patient’s eye with a blunt object when the cataracts reached an advanced stage, causing the lens to be dislocated. This process restored only very limited and unfocused vision.
(It also hurt).
According to historical record, the first removal of a cataract by surgical means took place in 1748. By this time, the whole lens could be removed by means of an incision. Topical anesthetic had become possible at this point, making the surgery more feasible, but it was still only limited to the most advanced cataracts…and history says it sometimes ended with death.
By 1967, great strides had been made in eye surgery when Dr. Charles Kelman first used an ultrasonic technique to break the lens into pieces, which could be removed afterward. At this point, technology had advanced to such a degree that replacement lenses could be made from glass, which made the huge “coke-bottle” glasses that people had to wear unnecessary.
Additionally, this marks the first time that eye surgery wasn’t limited to people with advanced eye problems. Lenses had evolved to such an extent that they became on option even for people with only slight vision problems. Glasses, contacts, and implanted lenses all became everyday treatment options.
Modern Eye Surgery
Today, cataract surgery can be performed through an incision less than 3mm. Contact lenses have advanced to such a degree as to grant anyone their best vision. And LASIK eye surgery, one of the most advanced and recent types of eye surgery to date, can make even contacts unnecessary. It offers a long term solution to the near or far sighted and does not require any glasses or contacts.
Laser eye surgery seems as futuristic as the first cataract surgeries seemed primitive. LASIK surgery requires no incision, the surgery takes 15 minutes to complete (and only two minutes of actual operation), and improvement in vision is usually noticed within 24 hours.
We can only imagine how easy and accessible eye surgery will become in the future!