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First All Laser Lasik Performed on US Naval Aviator

Most US military pilots are restricted from Lasik laser eye surgery.

Bladeless Lasik All Laser Lasik Navy Pilot
US military pilots are restricted from Lasik due to extreme conditions, however Bladeless Lasik is being evaluated.


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.

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