A history of laser eye surgery and why it is recommended

Human beings are blessed with five senses — sight (vision), hearing (audition), smell (olfaction), taste (gustation) and touch (somatosensation) — which inform our idea of perception and feeling.  A more intricate definition of visual perception is the capacity to translate the environment using light in the visibility spectrum reflected by objects. Man is prone to weakness and his five senses are no different. Deafness and blindness are issues that affect a large number of people worldwide.

Blindness in Australia

According to the Australian Network on Disability, 4 million inhabitants suffer from a disability. More specifically, research conducted by Vision Australia shows that an estimated 357,000 people in the country are affected by full or partial blindness. In other words, that is roughly fifteen percent of the nation’s entire population.  The caveat here is that this fact does not include refractive errors like nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia), conditions which would require people to use lenses or spectacles or have a corrective procedure.


Solutions for those affected

It is not uncommon for visual impairment to occur, regardless of age. Visual issues generally manifest themselves at an early age. The advent of science and modern medicine has introduced techniques that can combat such ailments. For sight oriented troubles, there is the option of laser eye surgery. These are performed by ophthalmologists.

History of Laser Eye Surgery

Although the earliest signs of laser eye surgery can be traced back to the tail end of the 19th century, it wasn’t until decades later that the idea began to reach fruition.  A Russian doctor named Fyodorov first applied the concept of refractive surgery in principle. His technique was called Radial Keratotomy. The basis of his findings is still implemented in laser eye surgery today. The Excimer Laser was pioneered a few years later by researchers at IBM. The laser deployed gases such as chlorine and fluorine. When exposed to electricity, these gases would emit ultraviolet light and make infinitesimal alterations to materials.


Dr. Stephen Trokel became the first person to use Excimel Laser on the cornea, a part of the eye’s anatomy. The cornea represents the eye’s central and protective layer. It transmits and focuses light into the eye, similar to how a camera’s shutter functions. Dr. Trokel performed the primary surgical procedure in 1987 and it was a few years later, 1991 to be exact, that LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) was employed.  This was the introduction of surgical precision into proceedings. Ophthalmologists now had at their disposal purpose built instruments for laser eye surgery.


Cost of Surgery

Any procedure of the medical variety is likely to be expensive. The cost of laser eye surgery is no different. The typical cost of surgery in Australia is a few thousand dollars.


However, a cost versus benefit consideration will always show that it is a worthy investment. Surgery allows patients to perform everyday activities without the need for corrective lenses or glasses. The need for spectacles may arise as we grow older to combat presbyopia. However, that is not always the case. Laser eye surgery is a course correction practice that restores or improves a person’s vision dramatically.


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