How our practice grew from just one ophthalmologist to multiple eye care doctors in New York who are experts in LASIK eye surgery is an exciting story. Our practice was actually the first ophthalmology office in New York to perform LASIK when it first became available to the American public in 1995. Our experience and expertise in this arena speaks to the vision of Dr. Norman Stahl, the founder of Stahl Eyecare Experts.
Dr. Stahl, who founded the practice in the 1960’s, was already an exceptional ophthalmologist prior to the development of laser vision correction. Dr. Stahl started his practice with the vision of combining compassionate care for patients with innovative new technology. These two key elements are what led him to be the first to bring laser eye surgery to New York.
The Background of Laser Eye Surgery
Using a laser to solve eye problems was common as far back as the 1970’s when it was used to treat conditions like retinal tears and glaucoma. But the development of the excimer laser pushed the specialty forward toward the laser surgery that we know today.
The excimer laser was first used in Germany in 1985 and was FDA-approved in the US in 1995, after approximately 1 million procedures were performed in Europe. We were so confident in the incredible impact this would have in the lives of our patients that we installed the first excimer laser in New York. It was actually sitting in our office waiting to be unpacked after the FDA approved it. As soon as the approval came, we got the laser out and performed our first procedure immediately. The first laser procedure that was FDA approved was photorefractive keratectomy, also known as PRK, and this was subsequently followed by LASIK. Beginning in 1995, approximately 50,000 procedures were performed in the United States, and within a few years this annual number exceeded 1 million!
Initially , the creation of the corneal flap, the first step in lasik, was performed with a blade. In the latest technological leap forward, Intralase created a femtosecond laser which was able to create a flap without a blade, so called “bladeless lasik.” As always, Stahl Eyecare experts were one of the first to actually begin using this technology. And, when this technology was improved and the second generation intralase known as the “iFS” was introduced, Stahl was a pioneer in introducing this technology. It is so innovative that there are only a few available in New York.
This laser really changed the way people think about LASIK because the iFS is completely bladeless. Now, without the blade, LASIK is much safer, more precise, and allows for better control and detail during the procedure. Because of the customization it allows, patients heal much faster, have better outcomes, and reduce the risk of many post-surgery complications.
The other tremendous advance in laser vision correction is the introduction of CustomVue Technology. The original lasers corrected the patient’s nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, but it turns out that all eyes, like every other optical system, have other imperfections which are known as higher order aberrations. The CustomVue technology personalizes the treatment and corrects these other imperfections helping our patients achieve the best quality vision.
We’re excited to offer this new technology to our patients. We’ve seen it change the lives of many who have had the procedure. We believe in the impact it has and we will continue to combine compassion with the newest technology so our patients can see the results.