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Happy 25th Birthday Excimer LASER!

December 23, 2008

Hard to believe it was 25 years ago this month that Dr. Stephen Trokel, et al. published the first article discussing the potential uses of the excimer laser in corneal surgery.  The journal article "Excimer Laser Surgery of the Cornea", was published in the December, 1983 issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.  The abstract of the article stated:

"The excimer laser, which produces light in the far-ultraviolet portion of the spectrum, allows precise removal of corneal tissue through a photochemical laser-tissue interaction. This interaction is not thermal and does not involve optical breakdown; rather, it directly breaks organic molecular bonds without tissue heating. We used this process of ablative photo decomposition to remove corneal tissue in a series freshly nucleated cow eyes. Applying the far-ultraviolet light in short intense pulses permitted us to control the depth of the incision with great precision. We found that 1 joule/cm2 ablates corneal tissue to a depth of 1 micron. Adjacent tissue suffered no thermal damage and the stromal lamellae adjacent to the incision showed no evidence of disorganization."

1983 also saw Dr. Trokel also receive the first patents that led to the 1996 FDA approval of the excimer laser to treat mild to moderate nearsightedness.  1996 also marked my becoming involved in LASIK surgery, leading to acquiring the first VISX laser used for LASIK in a private practice in New Jersey. OCLI was also the first New Jersey practice to use the new Allegretto Wave Excimer laser in 2003.

The photo below is of me receiving the VISX Star Award  in 1999 from Dr. Trokel for being one of the top 5% of all VISX LASIK surgeons in the US:


LASIK surgery has come a long way over the past 25 years.  Results are excellent, with stable vision, and high patient satisfaction ratings.

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