Probably the most important discovery in the history of LASIK was made in 1949 by Colombian Doctor Jose Barraquer. The doctor believed the cornea could be re-shaped to improve vision. He used an instrument called a microkeratome to remove a small part of the cornea. That piece was then frozen, reshaped, and placed back on the eye.
In the late 1980s the excimer laser made its debut. Excimer uses an ultraviolet ray of light precisly to remove tissue in the eye. This technology was used in the first widely known eye surgery known as PRK, which stands for photorefractive keratectomy. In PRK, the laser first removes the protective layer of the cornea. Then it reshapes the structural layer. PRK. Overall, PRK greatly improved vision corrective surgery, but it has its problems. After surgery, a patients eyes can hurt for up to 2 days. Also, the lack of protective covering on the eye can make vision blurry for up to a week and increases the chance of infection.
In 1991, the creation of LASIK solved these problems. In this procedure the eye is sculpted without permanently removing any tissue. LASIK was approved by the FDA in 1999. The process has been refined further since and is still the surgery most often chosen for vision correction.