IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 11, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking both a milestone
in US Naval medicine and refractive surgery, the Navy announced
that the first all laser Lasik (Bladeless Lasik)
procedure has been performed on an aviator as part of a new project.
Lasik is not approved for use in the US military aviation community,
however after many years of Lasik clinical trials on non-aviation
personnel, the new Bureau of Naval Medicine project is underway
to treat four additional aviators with Bladeless Lasik as part of the
first step of the program. While Lasik remains the most popular
surgery in the civilian community, the Naval Medical Center San
Diego's Refractive Surgery Center is the only center currently in
Department of Defense offering Bladeless Lasik.
Though Lasik has been around for many years, concerns about the
harsh aviation environment prevented its use in US Navy aviators.
Aeromedical professionals have been cautious of employing the procedure
on aviators who frequently encounter environmental extremes such
as high altitude, dry air, wind blast and 'G' forces.
According to Capt. Steve Schallhorn, MD, Navy Program Manager
for Refractive Surgery, "While Lasik has been around for many years
and is a common elective procedure, this is a significant first
in the aeromedical field. Wavefront guided Lasik using the IntraLase
method represents the best-of-the-best and is a truly exciting advancement
for critical Navy personnel whose sight is of utmost importance
in their military duties."
The IntraLase FS laser is the first technology approved in the
US for a truly all-laser, blade-free Lasik procedure, replacing
the hand-held mechanical microkeratome blade historically used in
creating Lasik corneal flaps -- the first step of the procedure
-- with a computer-guided, femtosecond (fem-to-second) laser.
The first candidate was aviator, Marine Capt. Michael Oginsky,
an FA 18/D weapons and sensor officer with VMFAT 101 at US Marine
Corps Air Station Miramar. Within just four hours, Oginsky's vision
was 20/20. At the 24-hour mark, his vision exceeded 20/20. There
are four additional aviators scheduled to take part in the first
step of the program and have received Bladeless Lasik.