The History of LASIK Eye Surgery

Though the history of LASIK eye surgery is relatively brief, it already has several significant pioneers and developments that make it a well-researched topic of ophthalmology. In fact, its depth of research makes LASIK one of the safest eye surgeries available. 

If you’re nervous about LASIK or if you just want to understand it better before you give it a shot, we at Davis Vision want to help you feel ready and comfortable with the surgery. So we’ve put together this brief history of LASIK to help you prepare for your LASIK eye surgery in our Utah office. 

Pioneers of LASIK Eye Surgery

Jose Barraquer

Decades before LASIK was possible, a man was conducting important research on the eye that helped lead to our modern LASIK eye surgery. Jose Barraquer, who was living in Columbia at the time, performed intensive research about the cornea of the eye. 

One of his major discoveries was learning how to replace the cornea. He also researched the movements and shapes of the cornea to determine “the law of thickness,” which is still used significantly in modern LASIK. 

In all his studies, he learned some of the best ways to modify the cornea for improved vision and shared those findings in various books and articles. Among these findings are surgical discoveries and tips, some of which we still use today. 

Gholum Peyman

Though Jose Barraquer had been experimenting with the cornea for years, the first person to really test eye surgery with lasers was Gholum Peyman. After receiving his education in Germany, he went on to invent and test many ways of surgical vision correction. 

His first attempts used carbon dioxide lasers on rabbits to correct their vision. Over time he progressed his techniques and technologies to use on humans. 

In addition to his discovery of LASIK eye surgery, Dr. Peyman invented many devices to assist in the surgery, such as a way to safely administer medication to a person’s eye. In all, he’s received 124 patents for ophthalmological devices and various awards as well. 

John Marshall

Dr. John Marshall has contributed amply to ophthalmological inventions over the past several decades. Many of his inventions are now commonly used in retinal surgeries. 

Notable among his inventions is the excimer laser, which is still the laser used in our LASIK eye surgeries in Utah today, though the excimer laser technology has, of course, improved over the years. Excimer is short for “excited dimmer.” The laser is created by combining two gases. The laser is then directed at the eye to perform the surgery. 

First LASIK in the USA

Despite people like Jose Barraquer contributing research toward laser eye surgery, the first actual LASIK surgery didn’t occur in the United States until 1991. This delay was in part due to the need to wait for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to approve the procedure as safe for the general public.

In 1991, however, the FDA did approve LASIK eye surgery. The first doctors to perform LASIK in the U.S. were Dr. Stephen Slade and Dr. Stephen Brint. Dr. Slade was key to convincing the FDA to approve LASIK, and later he also was the first surgeon to perform a laser cataract surgery.

Since then, the U.S. Military has adopted LASIK as a way to help their soldiers perform better. Additionally, thousands of people across the country have received LASIK with impressive results. 

Latest Developments

At Davis Vision, we use only the latest technologies for LASIK eye surgery in Utah. For example, we now offer iLASIK which combines the IntraLase tech and Advanced CustomVue procedure. 

IntraLaseis a technology that allows for more precise customizations to make sure that your LASIK surgery will give you optimal results. This includes adjustments for diameter, depth, and edge angle.

Advanced CustomVue is another method of customization that takes into account the unique imperfections which are in each person’s eyes. This procedure corrects various levels of imperfections to give you better results. Advanced CustomVue also includes Iris Registration, which tracks the unique spots on your iris in case of minor eye movements during the surgery. It maintains the correct positioning for the surgery. 

Book Your LASIK Eye Surgery in Utah

At Davis Vision Center, we don’t just have the latest LASIK technology - we also have one of the most experienced LASIK surgeons in the country, Dr. Brian Davis. He’s performed over 40,000 procedures in his career. 

Dr. Davis will ensure that you have the best experience possible when you have your LASIK eye surgery. If you’re ready to see if you’re a good candidate for LASIK, call us today at (801) 253-3080.



We are currently having our Spring LASIK Sale! If you are one of the first 30 people to receive LASIK from us this spring, we’ll take $1,000 off of the price of the surgery. Call us today to reserve your spot and save money.