How was LASIK discovered?

Hi, it’s Matt Russell from VSON Laser Vision Specialists. When I tell people I’m a LASIK surgeon, some of them ask me: “How was LASIK discovered?”

Today, LASIK is one of the most effective and popular elective procedures in the world, but the key developments in its history took over a century to unfold.


Surgical solutions to visual errors date as far back as the 19th century. In 1898, a method known as Radial Keratotomy (RK) was introduced to treat conditions such as nearsightedness. This method involved manually making tiny radial incisions in the corneal surface.


In the early 1960s, a Colombian ophthalmologist named Dr. José Barraquer developed a technique called keratomileusis, a Greek term that literally means “carving the cornea”. At the time, he used a surgical blade to remove a piece of corneal tissue which was frozen, reshaped, and reattached to the surface of the eye.


In the 1970’s, even greater strides were made in the history of LASIK eye surgery with the arrival and application of the excimer laser. This ultraviolet laser was originally developed for the computer industry to perform precision etching in the manufacture of microelectronic devices.


In 1980, a research team discovered that this laser could also cut biological tissue with extreme precision and accuracy without damaging the surrounding area. This led to its medical application in a process called Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK). In PRK, the outer layer, or epithelium, of the cornea is removed, and the exposed corneal stroma is reshaped using the excimer laser.


The last step in the history of LASIK eye surgery came in the early 1990s, when Greek ophthalmologist Dr. Pallikaris combined the use of the microkeratome and the excimer laser. This created what we now know as LASIK, an acronym for “Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis.” In this surgery, the microkeratome is used to create a thin flap in the cornea, and the excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. The flap is then folded back into place, and natural healing processes begin to reseal the cut very quickly.


In 2001, the US FDA approved “bladeless” LASIK or all-laser femtosecond LASIK, in which the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser instead of the microkeratome blade to make the corneal flap incision.

To learn more about LASIK, and know which treatment is best for you to free yourself from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses, please book online for a free laser vision assessment on our website today.

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“Very friendly and professional staff. Dr Russell is extremely informative and has a really positive presence. The doctor and all of the staff ensured all my questions were answered fully. I left the surgery feeling as if I’d been really well cared for.”

Suzanne Cooper
“The staff are all friendly and helpful.”
Alana Jenkins
“Dr. Russell and the entire team should be commended for their genuine care and personal attention. They made every possible effort to explain and clarify the treatment required and made sure I was comfortable through the consultation treatment.”
Xerxes Meher

“I was very impressed with the way they run things. It is a well-oiled machine. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing and were very friendly. To top it off, my treatment was excellent.”

Iris Van Quickelberghe
“Dr. Russell is my hubby’s specialist for years. We love him. Such a kind person and always spends time to explain everything.”
Zita Farczadi Kershaw
“Highly recommended. They are always helpful and friendly and the outcomes have been beyond my expectations.”
Brad Gooda

“Many thanks for your care and skill and a big thanks to all your staff for their friendly care and professionalism shown each time I have visited.”

Henry Ellison

“My wife came to see Dr Russell today and we wanted to say thank you to all the staff for the kind and professional service. We are also extremely grateful for Dr Russell’s generosity when it came to us paying for the consultation. We wanted to reach out and say thank you so much!”

Troy and Liana Todd

We have replaced the images of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.


The best way to find out if eye treatment is right for you is to have an in-person assessment. You’ll get a clear answer from our experts on your suitability and vision correction options


Dr. Matthew Russell


Laser eye and cataract surgery specialist

With over 15 years of experience, I enjoy the privilege of helping patients of all ages reclaim clear vision or preserve it for as long as possible.

Vision correction and high-precision cataract surgery hinge on the expertise and skill set of the provider who also has access to the most precise tools for the job. Ophthalmic surgeons like me know how to make treatment safe, comfortable and positive for the patient. They know how to minimise the risk of complications and maximise successful outcomes.

I understand that medical and surgical eye care is a serious undertaking. I take the time to address whatever questions and concerns you might have. I believe everyone’s eyes are unique and require a customised solution tailored to your needs and goals.

My combination of education, training and experience positions me to provide optimal results for patients of all ages. I have a passion for helping my patients enjoy the clear, high-definition vision they need to live rich and active lives. Now, I have hand-picked a team of professionals that share my passion and commitment to exceptional care.

More about Dr. Russell