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New York Laser Vision Correction

History of Laser Eye Surgery
by Allan Robbins, MD

Millions of years ago, cavemen with poor vision were a delicacy for the T. Rex crowd, and the nearsighted population was never much of a factor in society. Today, it is estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from nearsightedness, and the number is growing. These demographics combined with dramatic advances in technology have catalyzed the explosion of laser vision correction. We are bombarded by the advertising in our homes, cars and even at the movie theatres. Many of us wonder "What is laser vision correction, where did it come from and is it something we should be considering?"

The tale of laser vision correction began in 1981, when an IBM scientist discovered the first ultraviolet "cold" laser by exciting Argon and Fluoride gas. The beam emitted was called an excimer, a contraction for "excited dimer", and the first applications were for etching microchips. In 1983, the first medical paper describing the reshaping the outer clear lens (cornea) with this wavelength was published, and laser vision correction was born. Research on the excimer laser continued around the world at a feverish pitch, and an international battle for patent rights continues to this very day. In the United States, clinical trials for the treatment of myopia began in 1988 for Summit Technology and 1989 for VisX. Rochester was fortunate to be selected as one of the ten clinical sites for VisX, and we now over 10 years of follow-up data on many of our patients.

Prior to 1988, the only surgical option for individuals with myopia (inability to see clearly in the distance without optical aids) was to undergo the operation called RK or Radial Keratotomy. RK was "invented" by Dr. Fyodorov of Moscow and imported into the United States in 1979. The operation enjoyed some popularity here in the late eighties as the notion of performing surgery on healthy eyes gained acceptance from ophthalmologists and the public. The incisions were initially created with steel blades which in the U.S. were replaced with precision diamond micrometer knives. RK worked by effectively weakening the outer portions of the cornea with a resultant central flattening. Outcomes in skilled hands were good, but astigmatism could not be corrected well, nor could farsightedness.

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At the Robbins Laser Site in Rochester, New York, RK and laser vision correction surgeon Dr. Allan Robbins will recommend and provide the laser eye surgery that is right for you. Dr. Robbins recommendations are made after careful consideration of all of the options available for your laser vision correction surgery including CRT, CustomCornea, Ladervision, Laderwave, Lasek, Lasik, PRK, RK, Technolas, VISX or Wavefront. For laser vision correction eye surgery in the Upstate New York area including Rochester, Corning, Elmira and Hornell, NY, Contact Us to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Robbins.This website is not intended for viewing or usage by European Union citizens.