Friday, December 30, 2005

Addendum to White Paper on Corneal Sculpting

In the November 2005 issue of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today, I wrote a letter about a previously published article on the 193nm wavelength lasers, in which I told how I became involved in ophthalmic lasers and refractive surgery. The letter references both the White Paper and also another report that I wrote some years earlier that is probably the first marketing report on refractive surgery. Here’s a part of that letter (and links to the two reports):

...I began writing (and consulting) about ophthalmic lasers in 1983, following the first approvals of the YAG laser for capsulotomies. I became intrigued with the laser’s capabilities in medicine and decided to become an “expert” in the field. Part of my learning experience was attending a Gordon Research Conference on Biomedicine in the summer of either 1984 or 1985; I can’t remember the year. At that conference, I met several of the pioneers working on the excimer laser, including Carmen Puliafito, Fran L’Esperance, Steve Trokel, Charles Munnerlyn, David Muller, and I am sure others. It was there that Munnerlyn first showed his infamous chart showing the ablation depth versus dioptric correction for various optical zone sizes.

After meeting the experts at the Gordon Conference, in December 1985, I was hired by Fran L’Esperance and Anthony Pilaro (Fran L’Esperance’s financial backer and the founder of the Duty-Free shops found at every international airport) to prepare a marketing report forecasting the potential of what I then called laser refractive keratoplasty. That report was finished in March 1986 and was used to raise the initial monies from Alcon Laboratories, Inc., to fund Taunton Technologies (which later became Visx Incorporated). The report is also the basis for the per-procedure fee that became the moneymaker for the companies involved. It was Tony Pilaro’s idea, and he asked me to incorporate it into my report.

In September 1989, I published a white paper titled, “The Evolution and Prospects for Laser Refractive Keratoplasty.” In it, I believe I coined the term corneal sculpting. I updated the report for publication in the March 1992 issue of Laser Focus World.


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