Air Force Helps Advance Corrective Eye Surgery

By Air Force SBIR/STTR

The most popular corrective eye surgery for conditions like farsightedness and nearsightedness is LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. The procedure originally used a mechanical blade to cut a flap in the outer layer of the eye, which was then folded back to expose the underlying cornea. However, imprecise mechanical blades have been associated with LASIK complications such as uneven edges and incomplete flaps.

A bladeless system with a remote-controlled, high-precision laser to cut flaps, first developed and commercialized by IntraLase, has boosted the quality and safety of eye surgeries worldwide. Over 5 million surgeries and counting have been performed using the IntraLase system, and 75% of U.S. surgeons use a femtosecond laser for the majority of their LASIK cases. Here’s how it works.

LASIK laser technology is an example of the impact of the U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, which funds Research and Development (R&D) by small businesses and non-profit U.S. research institutions. The Air Force SBIR/STTR program focuses on projects and services with the potential to develop into a product for military or commercial sectors. From 2000-2013, the Air Force invested nearly $4 billion in these R&D projects.

Story and information provided by Air Force Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer
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