• A photo with dates related to the history of lasik

The History of Lasik Eye Surgery

Eye surgery and the tools that are used to make it suc­cess­ful are now com­mon­ly known by most peo­ple. Not many med­ical pro­ce­dures have reached such lev­els of pop­u­lar­i­ty that they are known by the name of the tool, rather than the pro­ce­dure itself. This is not the case for the inno­v­a­tive com­pa­ny, IntraLase, Corp. Almost every­one has heard of LASIK, and it all start­ed with two doc­tors try­ing to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the eye care indus­try. And they did.


IntraLase, Corp. was estab­lished in Ann Arbor, Michi­gan in 1995, by Ron Kurtz, MD, and Dr. Tibor Juhasz with the devel­op­ment of the fem­tosec­ond laser at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan. This laser uses an infrared light beam to assist sur­geons in prepar­ing for and per­form­ing corneal trans­plants and oth­er vision cor­rec­tion surg­eries. The intro­duc­tion of this laser paved the way for the cre­ation of a trade­marked laser for eye surg­eries called IntraLASIK. Patients that take advan­tage of IntraLASIK often expe­ri­ence the per­ma­nent cor­rec­tion of vision, which removes the neces­si­ty of glass­es or con­tact lens­es.


In 1999, the com­pa­ny moved to Irvine, Cal­i­for­nia and expand­ed to include oth­er lasers and tools for med­ical use and eye surgery. The sci­en­tists and doc­tors behind the com­pa­ny con­tin­ued to devel­op more advanced and use­ful lasers until IntraLase, Corp. was pur­chased by anoth­er eye care and med­ical sup­ply com­pa­ny, Advanced Med­ical Optics, in 2007, for over $800 mil­lion — about $25 per share of pub­licly trad­ed stock. This put AMO in a prime posi­tion; adding IntraLASIK to its exist­ing reper­toire of intraoc­u­lar and oth­er lens­es, in addi­tion to oth­er med­ical and oph­thalmic surgery sup­plies, allowed it to cor­ner a huge por­tion of the med­ical sup­ply mar­ket.


Just before Advanced Med­ical Optics was acquired by Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries in 2009, Dr. Kurtz left IntraLase to form his own laser and lens devel­op­ment firm, LenSx. When Abbott Labs pur­chased AMO and formed its new unit ded­i­cat­ed to eye care: Abbott Med­ical Optics, Inc. This acqui­si­tion fur­thered and ensured the suc­cess of Abbott, allow­ing for a break­through into the eye surgery mar­ket while con­tin­u­ing to offer dia­bet­ic test­ing sup­plies, diag­nos­tic ser­vices and oth­er med­ical indus­try essen­tials.


The over­whelm­ing suc­cess of IntraLase, Corp., Advanced Med­ical Optics and Abbott Lab­o­ra­to­ries is due, in large part, to the cre­ativ­i­ty and inge­nu­ity of two doc­tors in a lab at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan. The intro­duc­tion and wide­spread accep­tance of a fem­tosec­ond laser for use in eye surg­eries has led to laser vision cor­rec­tion being one of the most reg­u­lar­ly per­formed surg­eries in the coun­try (and the world).

October 12th, 2015|Comments Off on The History of Lasik Eye Surgery

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


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