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Crazy Idea of Laser Eye Surgery

It has been known for hundred and fifty years that the Sun gives out not only visible light but also ultra-violet light. It turns out that the Sun’s ultra-violet light is the more powerful light as it is more energetic.
Srinivasan Rangswamy

This year, AVC celebrates 50 years since the first laser demonstration of its practical uses in medical treatments and surgery. Back then, the ‘crazy idea’ of using such a powerful form of energy to precisely operate on human tissue was seen by some as simply unbelievable.

Furthermore, the whole idea might have never got off the ground if everyone knew that a humble turkey was crucial to the development of Laser Eye Surgery!

laser turkey etched by same laser as excimer laser

How Laser Eye Surgery was Invented

Srinivasan Rangswamy, or “Sri” as he is popularly known, is the inventor of the Laser Eye Surgery procedure. But it all began in the most unlikely way imaginable. The day after Thanksgiving in 1981, Sri went into his lab at IBM with his leftover turkey and decided to experimente on it with an Excimer laser. With his expertise in photo-chemistry and polymer science, he made the groundbreaking discovery that the laser was able to precisely etch on the turkey without any collateral damage to any of the surrounding tissue.

Rangaswamy thought that if a piece of plastic can be drilled successfully using laser technology than why not living tissue? He made incisions in a human hair, etched on by laser pulse by pulse. Carrie Lembach, Professor of Ophthalmology at Ohio University, says that “all good things in medicine come from someone who has a crazy idea and then they just decide to try it.”

human hair etched by same laser as excimer laser

Success depends on the ideas that you can dream up, the possibilities that you envision, and the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears you’re willing to put in to make them real
President Obama

Several years later, Sri was awarded the highest possible accolade in science the National Medal of Science and Innovation by US President Barack Obama forhis pioneering discovery of excimer laser ablative photo-decomposition of human and animal tissue, laying the foundation for PRK and LASIK laser refractive surgical techniques that have revolutionised vision enhancement.

Dr CT Pillai Thanks Sri

Within seconds of laser eye surgery being performed, a patient sits up from the table and says that he can see the clock which he was never able to see before
Sandra Belmont MD, Director of Resident Surgical Education, New York University School of Medicine

Dr CT Pillai, AVC’s Medical Director and, like Sri, an alumni of the University of Madras and having worked in America for most of his career, congratulates and thanks Sri for his amazing work in the field of Laser Eye Surgery. After all, not only has he revolutionised the world of Laser Eye Surgery but his invention is now also used in other vision correction treatments such as Cataracts.

Interested in Laser Eye Surgery?

If you would like to find out more about our state of the art Laser Eye Surgery and why patients choose AVC for their treatment, then why not call AVC TODAY on 0800 652 4878 and request your free information pack or book your consultation to find out how we can help you.

Contact AVC Today


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